One person reported missing in Hatcher Pass avalanche

BACKCOUNTRY: One person was rescued with possible broken leg.

March 19, 2011 

An avalanche at Hatcher Pass on Saturday afternoon struck two men, one of whom was still missing at last report and believed to be buried, according to Alaska State Troopers and Matanuska-Susitna Borough emergency services.

Troopers and avalanche responders went into the backcountry by snowmachine and helicopter after the getting a call about the avalanche at 5:15 p.m., troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said.

One of the men suffered a possible broken leg, and rescuers were still working to reach the other victim reported trapped, said Dennis Brodigan, the borough's emergency services director.

The avalanche slid on the Palmer side of Hatcher Pass in an area without road access, Brodigan said.

Late Saturday, Peters said steep terrain and persistent avalanche danger prevented the troopers' Helo-1 helicopter from landing near the injured victim. An Alaska Air National Guard HH-60 with hoist capabilities had been dispatched to the scene to lift the man out, Peters said.

It was unclear what the men were doing in the backcountry or how they were traveling, according to Brodigan and Peters.

Reach Casey Grove at or 257-4589.

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