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Utah avalanche: Four skiers killed after snowslide near Salt Lake City

image copyrightReuters

image captionFour survivors managed to dig themselves out of the avalanche and call for help

Four skiers have been killed following an avalanche at a popular recreation area in the US state of Utah, officials say.

A further four people were injured in the incident, which happened on Saturday at Millcreek Canyon near Salt Lake City.

All of the eight caught in the avalanche knew one another and were aged between 23 and 38.

It is the joint deadliest avalanche in the history of the state.

The deadly avalanche was triggered accidentally by the skiers, according to the Utah Avalanche Center. The weight of a skier can cause an unstable layer of snow to slide.

There had been a smaller landslip nearby a day earlier but no-one was injured.

All eight skiers had been carrying safety gear such as avalanche beacons, which submit a radio signal to help rescuers locate those buried under the snow.

The survivors managed to dig themselves out of the avalanche and call the emergency services.

Rescuers were dispatched to the area and are working to recover the bodies. Video footage showed emergency workers being lowered on to the side of the canyon by helicopter.

“This is a terrible tragedy and our prayers go out to the victims and families involved,” Utah Governor Spencer Cox said.

“We are grateful to the first responders and others who engaged in this rescue and recovery effort,” he added. “With avalanche danger high right now, please exercise extreme caution.”

media captionWatch: How technology is helping to make ski slopes safer

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