Woman Hurt in Montana Avalanche Dies

A woman who was rescued Friday after being buried in her Montana house by a monstrous avalanche has died, authorities said.

Michel Jo Colville, a 68-year-old artist, died late Sunday at St. Patrick Hospital, Missoula police said. Her husband, Fred Allendorf, a 66-year-old retired biology professor, was still hospitalized Monday afternoon in serious condition.

An 8-year-old boy who was also trapped in the avalanche, Phoenix Scoles, was released from the hospital Sunday, according to The Associated Press.

Police, fire officials, and search-and-rescue crews from across the region worked for more than three hours to save the three after a ferocious wave of snow washed over two homes on Holly Street in Missoula's Rattlesnake Valley neighborhood about 4 p.m. (6 p.m. ET) Friday.

Rescuers said Saturday that the victims were able to survive only because of air pockets in the debris.

The West Central Montana Avalanche Center said the the deluge was triggered by a snowboarder in a restricted area near the top of Mount Jumbo who disturbed a layer of packed snow resting on looser snow beneath it.

The snow rapidly tumbled down the mountain, gathering speed and bulk in what the center called a slab avalanche — the most dangerous kind.

Authorities were still investigating the incident Monday. Police said there were no charges pending, but that detectives "will confer with the appropriate prosecuting attorney's office regarding the results of the investigation and any potential criminal culpability."

— Daniel Arkin