On January 18, 2013 at approximately 4:00 p.m. the Wasatch County Dispatch Center received a 911 call. The cell service was intermittent and poor, but initial reports indicated that an avalanche may have occurred in the West Fork of the Duchesne and that two victims may be trapped.
Search and Rescue teams from Summit and Wasatch counties, United States Forest Service, Utah State Parks, and Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office responded to the area along with two Air Med helicopters to assist in the rescue of Coleman Sweat age fourteen and his younger brother Trevan age seven.
A Heber City family was snowmobiling together when they stopped their vehicles on the West Fork of the Duchense. Their four children walked approximately fifty feet to the edge of the snow to look at the creek thirty feet below.
Without warning, the cornus on which the children stood gave-way, causing three children to slide down the steep embankment. Two of the children, a fourteen year old boy and an eight year old boy, were buried in what was later found to be about three feet of snow. The third child slid about half-way down the embankment, but was not buried.
The parents, who were standing close-by, worked to remove the boys from underneath the snow they were buried in, but heavy snow blocks made finding the boys very difficult. While the mother was forced to leave the area to find cell phone service, the father worked to break-up, move, and probe the snow. After about thirty minutes, the father located the boys and he and the mother, who had called for help and returned, performed CPR on both boys until two Air Med helicopters and search and rescue teams arrived.
The boys were transported to Primary Children's Hospital where extensive efforts were made to revive them. Unfortunately, both boys passed away.
Sheriff Todd Bonner stated “Our hearts and prayers go out to this family in their time of great need. I know them. Their family is strong, and will be stronger-still because of this. I think I can speak for the entire community in saying “We love them, we look-up to them, and we will do anything we can to help them through this.”
For further information, please contact Jared Rigby, who serves as the Chief Deputy of the Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office, by calling 435-654-1411.