Yellowstone National Park: Iowa Man Killed in Avalanche

by Madison Miller

Avalanches are perhaps one of the deadliest parts of certain outdoor adventures. They can be sudden, unexpected, and incredibly life-threatening.

Billings Gazette reports an Iowa man lost his life in an avalanche while in Montana. Bradie Becker, a 30-year-old man, died on Sunday during a West Yellowstone avalanche. Becker was out on a snowmobile when the avalanche occurred. Members of his group attempted to perform CPR but were not successful.

When help arrived, the man was unresponsive. Investigators are currently stating that Becker died from asphyxiation as a result of being buried under avalanche debris for a period of time.

Apparently, Becker had been away from the rest of the group when the avalanche occurred. That means it took some time for everyone to figure out where Becker was in the huge piles of snow. Once he was found, different resuscitation efforts occurred over the course of a full hour.

Becker prepared for the possibility of this happening while he was out in West Yellowstone. He was wearing an avalanche airbag, which did in fact deploy, as well as a helmet.

The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office shared the entire story on Facebook. The department wrote, “Our deepest condolences go out to Bradie’s family and friends during this time.”

Avalanches in Montana

Sadly, this is the third avalanche fatality that has occurred in Montana just this winter. The first two actually occurred on January 27 near Cooke City. Jesse and Carl Thelen from Minnesota lost their lives in the incident. This winter, a total of nine people have died from avalanches.

“Large avalanches in the West Yellowstone area and near Big Sky and in the Bridger Range are unlikely with the above activity being the tragic exception to overall stability. Additionally, these events signify more trouble to come when the wind blows or snow returns,” a report Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center stated.

The avalanche threat was reportedly low in the area that day. There were about six inches of fresh snow as well as strong winds, however.

It’s important to always ride with someone else in case of an emergency. Also, call for help as soon as something goes wrong. Certain equipment, such as water, food, flashlight, avalanche packs, and other items, are necessary for survival in the case of an emergency.

Deadly Avalanche in Austria

A terrifying situation also occurred in Austria this week.

Nine people died in three days after more than 100 avalanches hit the western region of Austria. One incident involved a group of Swedish skiers on a mountain guide trip. Four of the skiers and the guide were swept away. Only one survived and they were able to call for help and get airlifted out.

A married couple also sadly passed away while cross-country skiing. Another was killed on Saturday in an incident that left four people with injuries.