Avalanche Near Worthington Glacier Injures Two & Triggers Chopper Rescue

 Three People Trapped In Thompson Pass Avalanche On Tuesday, April 26th, 2022  The Alaska State Troopers rescued three people – two of them...

 Three People Trapped In Thompson Pass Avalanche On Tuesday, April 26th, 2022 


The Alaska State Troopers rescued three people – two of them injured – in a Worthington Glacier area avalanche this April. The people were "recreating" in the area, Troopers said. 
 
Snowmachining, snowboarding and skiing are all common activities in the Pass this time of year. 
 
Avalanches at Thompson Pass are so common that "avalanche cannons" are placed along the road to shoot down snow. In January, 2014, a massive avalanche blocked the Richardson Highway, with a 40 foot high wall of ice closing the Richardson. The snow lingered for months, well into the summer. 
 
During the Alaska Gold Rush of 1898, as miners trudged over the glaciers near the Pass, avalanches were a common occurrence, killing hapless wanderers. 

Ten years ago, Copper Valley Electric began work on moving a 4-mile stretch of transmission line between Valdez and the Copper Valley. The line was built in 1981. In 1988, seven massive transmission towers were damaged by a huge avalanche, taking the line out of service for over 270 days, and costing almost $2 million to repair. Avalanches then took the line out of service again in 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009. 
 
Location: Valdez
Type: Avalanche

Dispatch Text:

On April 26, 2022, at approximately 4:00 pm, the Alaska Wildlife Troopers were notified of an emergency SOS activation from a satellite communication device. Preliminary information determined that a group of three adults were recreating near the Worthington Glacier in Thompson Pass, the group unintentionally triggered an avalanche that injured two of the adults. The Alaska Wildlife Troopers coordinated a private helicopter operation from Valdez to respond to the area with Valdez Fire Department EMS personnel. The private helicopter rescued all three individuals and transported them to Valdez where the two injured adults received medical care. 

Avalanche danger is elevated in the backcountry as Springtime temperatures cover much of Alaska. The Alaska State Trooper and Alaska Wildlife Troopers encourage anyone that is heliskiing, backcountry skiing, or snowmachining to use extreme caution. There have been a series of dangerous avalanches in the last week in Southcentral Alaska and the Copper River Basin. If you must be in the backcountry ensure that you have avalanche mitigation equipment such as a probe, avalanche beacon, avalanche airbag system, and shovel. Always carry a communication device that will work wherever you are going, and bring along clothing appropriate for the conditions. Always check weather and avalanche forecasting before you depart, and tell a trusted friend or family member where you are going and when you will be back. 

Background Information on CVEA Transmission Line: Transmission Hub website, August 9, 2021


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