Authorities in Idaho have recovered the body of a person who died in an avalanche near Steven’s Peak, in Shoshone County, officials said late Friday.

The Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office said Friday morning they safely rescued two people from the deadly avalanche and that a third was presumed dead. Hours later, they confirmed the fatality and released the names of the three people involved.

“Today the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office conducted a retrieval mission for the presumed deceased individual that had been caught in an avalanche. We were able to extract the individual early this afternoon. The deceased skier has been identified as Corey J. Zalewski.,” the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

“The two other skiers that were rescued last night have been identified as Landon E. Crecelius, and David R. Sittser. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Corey’s family as they are remembering the life of this great man,” the statement continued.

IDAHO EMERGENCY TEAMS RESCUE 2 MEN FROM DEADLY AVALANCHE NEAR STEVENS PEAK

An avalanche has swept down a mountainside in Idaho’s panhandle.  (AP Graphic)

The recovery effort was in cooperation with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, Kootenai County Search and Rescue, Silver Valley Search and Rescue, Silver Mountain Ski Patrol, and Shoshone County Groomers.

Authorities initiated the rescue effort at approximately 2:53 p.m. on Thursday, after they received a Garmin GPS alert of a possible fatality, the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office said.

“The Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office organized a rescue effort to retrieve three males that were believed to have been caught in an avalanche near Steven’s Peak,” it said.

Skiers walking

Rescues crews work at the scene of an avalanche at the Palisades Tahoe ski resort on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, near Lake Tahoe, Calif. As a massive winter storm dumped snow across much of the western U.S., winter sport enthusiasts headed to ski resorts and backcountry slopes ahead of the long Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend. But in many areas, the storm brought a high risk of avalanche conditions. (Mark Sponsler via AP)

“We were able to establish communications with two of the individuals through a GPS texting device. Through this communication we were able to locate two of the three males and started a targeted search near their last known location,” the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office added.

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The men were located and rescued from an area several miles southwest of the Lookout Peak ski area.

The United States Air Force, the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office, Silver Valley Search and Rescue, and the Silver Mountain Ski Patrol assisted in the effort.

Upon rescuing the two men, the sheriff’s office said it gathered enough information to presume the third victim was deceased.

A big mountain

A charge is detonated to remove avalanche risk near the scene of Wednesday’s deadly slide at Palisades Tahoe Ski resort in Olympic Valley, Calif., on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024. As a massive winter storm dumped snow across much of the western U.S., winter sport enthusiasts headed to ski resorts and backcountry slopes ahead of the long Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend. But in many areas, the storm brought a high risk of avalanche conditions. (Scott Strazzante/San Francisco Chronicle via AP)

“While debriefing the two males, we received information causing us to believe the third male was deceased at the site of the avalanche. Due to this information, we have concluded our search efforts for the safety of all those involved for this evening,” the office said on Friday morning.

The area had been under an avalanche warning for several days prior to the deadly disaster, as it had witnessed heavy winds and snowfall.

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The first reported U.S. avalanche death of the season happened Wednesday in California.

An avalanche at the Palisades Tahoe ski resort near Lake Tahoe impacted four people, including one who had died.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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