Ground crew works to rescue hurt skiers after deadly Ore. avalanche; helicopters turn back

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By JEFF BARNARD, Associated Press

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — Bad weather has scrubbed efforts to airlift two injured backcountry skiers who survived an avalanche that killed two others in northeastern Oregon's Wallowa Mountains.

Baker County Undersheriff Warren Thompson said Wednesday morning that two National Guard helicopters had to turn back due to low visibility, and efforts now are focused on getting people out by ground.

He says a search and rescue team reached the skiers on foot and was working on using ropes to get the injured off a steep slope, where they are bundled in rescue baskets.

Thompson says three uninjured skiers were taken out by snowcat.

Most of the skiers were from the Seattle area. They were on a guided five-day trip with an outfitter from Joseph.

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