The Unified Police Department in Salt Lake City received a disconnection call at around 11:40 a.m. Saturday, then received a notification of an avalanche in the Wilson Basin area with five people detained, according to the Sgt. Melody Cutler, Police Department Information Officer.
Cutler said two groups of skiers, a group of three and another of five, began skiing on the mountain at the same time, and authorities believe the avalanche was due to group skiing.
“Four of these skaters managed to make their way out,” Cutler said. All the remaining four are dead. “
Age skaters range from the early twenties to the late thirties, according to Kotler. Cutler said that the Life Flight Rescue Service had been called in to take survivors out of the area, and an overpass was conducted to determine whether it was safe for rescuers to remove the deceased tonight.
Cutler told CNN that the site where the avalanche occurred was “a very popular back-ski area,” adding that it was “under severe avalanche conditions recently.”
Wilson Basin is located near Millcreek Canyon, about 20 miles southeast of Salt Lake City.
Utah Governor Spencer Cox responded on Twitter on Saturday, describing it as a “terrible tragedy”.
“We deeply regret the loss of life in this devastating accident,” Wilson said.
The fourth was the latest in a string of avalanche deaths in three states, bringing the death toll to nine.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly mentioned the title of Jenny Wilson. She is the mayor of Salt Lake County.