Three dead, up to 8 missing in Washington state avalanche

February 20, 2012 02:06

SEATTLE - Three people were killed and as many as eight others were missing on Sunday after an avalanche near a Washington state ski resort, authorities said.

King County Sheriff's spokeswoman Cindi West said the avalanche struck near the Stevens Pass ski area and that rescue crews were on the scene.

Washington State Patrol Trooper Keith Leary said the snow came down at a road about 2 miles (3 km) from the resort and about 10 miles (16 km) from the town of Skykomish.

The Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center warned on Sunday of high avalanche danger above 5,000 feet (1,520 metres) in the Stevens Pass area, with considerable danger at lower altitudes. The center said heavy snowfall of 30 to 35 inches (76-90 cm) in the area in recent days triggered the avalanches.

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