Oregon snowboarder dead after falling off cliff in avalanche
A snowboarder in Oregon fell to his death last week after he was swept up in an avalanche at Newberry National Volcanic Monument’s Paulina Peak in the Deschutes National Forest, the sheriff’s department confirmed.
A search and rescue team with the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office reached Erik Hefflefinger, of Bend, Oregon, within three hours of his fall by air on Wednesday afternoon after receiving SOS alerts from the area, the department said in a release.
Oregon State Police also responded but weren’t able to get to Hefflefinger because of the snow conditions.
The sheriff’s rescue team was also delayed after the avalanche.
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The 33-year-old had a faint pulse, but he succumbed to his injuries at the scene within an hour, officials said.
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He was taken to the 10-mile Snow Park and released to a funeral home.
Two friends of Hefflefinger, who had snowboarded down before him, told authorities they saw him carried over the cliff by avalanche debris and were able to reach him before rescuers to begin CPR.
Hefflefinger may have hit a tree during his fall, investigators said.
All three snowboarders had proper avalanche safety equipment, the department said.
Two other avalanche deaths have been reported in the county so far this year following no deaths for the last nine years.
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“The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone recreating in the backcountry to ensure that you have the proper equipment and training,” tee department said.
Paulina Peak, the highest point of the Newberry Volcano, is 7,984 feet at the summit.