Third body found after Idaho ski area avalanche; no more missing known

The deadly avalanche occurred at the Wardner Peak area in northern Idaho on Tuesday.

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By Phil Helsel

The body of a third skier killed in an avalanche was found Thursday at an Idaho ski area, officials said.

"It is with a heavy heart that Silver Mountain confirms the last known skier in the avalanche has been recovered," Silver Mountain said in a statement Thursday. It said no more people are reported missing.

Two other people were killed in Tuesday's avalanche at the Wardner Peak area of Silver Mountain Resort in Kellogg, in the northern part of the state. Five others were rescued on Tuesday, when officials believed all skiers had been accounted for.

But on Wednesday, a new search was launched after relatives reported that they had not heard from a skier who had been in the area.

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Skiers walk away from Silver Mountain after an avalanche killed multiple people and injured others in Kellogg, Idaho, on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020.Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review via AP

The body recovered Thursday was identified Friday by the Shoshone County Sheriff's Office as that of Elisabeth Hubbard, 33, of Minneapolis.

The sheriff's office on Thursday identified the two people previously recovered as Carl William Dick Humphreys, 58, of Liberty Lake, Washington, and Scott Michael Parsons, 46, of Spokane Valley, Washington.

The sheriff's office said as many as three avalanches were reported Tuesday.

A skier who was rescued told NBC affiliate KHQ of Spokane, Washington, that he was able to make a hole with his fist after the first avalanche before a second buried him further. The skier, Bill Fuzak, was reportedly trapped for around 50 minutes before he was rescued Tuesday.

The search for the third missing skier went on all day Wednesday before it was called off for the night and then resumed Thursday morning.

A helicopter out of Montana able to detect reflections from cellphones and other items got "reflective hits," leading searchers to the area where the third body was found, Sheriff Mike Gunderson said Thursday shortly after the discovery.

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The weather broke Thursday, which allowed the helicopter to fly, Gunderson said. He said that avalanches are a danger in back-country areas but that even at ski resorts, "when you ski these black diamonds in some of these remote areas, it's something that we always have to be mindful of."