Deadly spring avalanches a reminder to take safety precautions

Deadly spring avalanches a reminder to take safety precautions
Avalanches here in the Cascades and Colorado in past couple weeks have proven deadly.

Spring's heavy snows followed by rapidly warming weather are what create these slides.

Joy Yu of Bellevue, 55, died after she was pulled from an avalanche near Snoqualmie Pass on April 13.

The search for Renton dentist Mitch Hungate, missing in an separate avalanche nearby the same day on Granite Mountain, could resume tomorrow.

Several other hikers survived the deadly slides.

And just yesterday in Colorado - five snowboarders died in a backcountry avalanche that investigators say the group likely triggered.

Avalanche survivors say staying alive takes split second thinking.

"I just kind of went tumbling and was like flyingm," avalanche survivor Ian Rogers said.

Elyse Saugstad, another avalanche survivor said, "you're being tossed and turned. You don't know which way is up or down."

Staying out of dangerous areas and heeding closure signs is the best protection.

Also having the right survival gear like an avalanche airbag system or something called an ava lung helps.

Avalanche beacons can give searchers your exact location if you are buried in the snow.

"The highest survival rate for people buried in an avalanche is if they are recovered from under the snow in under 15 minutes," said John Stimberis, an avalanche rescue trainer.

That's why if you spend time in the back country, outdoor experts say you should also take an avalanche rescue class like the ones offered at Snoqualmie Pass.