Father feared son would die in snowboard accident

PORTLAND, Ore. A snowboarder traveling through an ice tunnel on Oregon's Mount Hood with five companions was buried Saturday when the tunnel collapsed, officials said. Rescuers quickly responded but halted efforts after dark Saturday night, and said they will resume the search around dawn Sunday. The other five were uninjured in the collapse Saturday afternoon and called police. They also attempted to dig the man out, but were unable to break through thick snow and ice. â??They tried digging for an hour, but the problem is the stuff is so thick that they couldn't get through it,â?? Hood River Sheriff's Office Sgt. Pete Hughes said. â??We're getting chainsaws, if that's any indication.â?? The man who was trapped only had snowboarding gear, and had no avalanche protective gear. â??The one person that was trapped was 30 or 40 feet ahead of the rest of the group when the ice gave way and fell on top of him,â?? Hughes told CBS affiliate KOIN in Seattle. â??It was described as a school bus-size to ambulance-size piece of debris that came down.â?? Early reports from police incorrectly stated there were seven people in the group. The initial reports also referred to an avalanche, but it was not immediately clear if one had occurred. The man was trapped on the White River Glacier, which begins about 6,000 feet up the south side of the mountain. An airplane was dispatched to survey the area, along with crews from local sheriff's offices. This ice tunnel on Mount Hood collapsed and buried a snowboarder (not the person seen in this picture) on Aug. 3, 2013. Hood River County Sgt. Pete Hughes via KOIN-TV

DENVER John Backowski says he feared for his son's life when the young man went snowboarding.

Backowski tells the Denver Post he would talk to his son after every report of an avalanche to make sure 25-year-old Collin Backowski of Pine Junction, Colo., was safe.

Collin Backowski
Collin Backowski
Facebook user Collin Ryan Backowski

The expert snowboarder and five of his companions were traveling on Mount Hood in Oregon when an ice tunnel collapsed Saturday, killing the young man.

The friends were not hurt and tried to dig him out, but could not break through the ice and snow, which an official described as being as thick as concrete, with Backowski trapped under a piece "school-bus-sized."

Rescuers quickly responded but halted efforts about 11 p.m. Saturday, then resumed early Sunday morning. The rescuers, armed with chain saws and other tools, chipped away at tons of ice and snow to recover the body.

Hood River Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Tiffany Peterson said that after removing tons of debris by hand, searchers found Backowski where he had been buried by 8 to 10 feet of snow and ice.

None of the searchers or other snowboarders was injured, Peterson said.

The ice tunnel was on the White River Glacier, which begins about 6,000 feet up the south side of the mountain.

The group of six snowboarders - ranging in ages from 24 to 29 years old - were in the area looking for places to snowboard and film, deputies told CBS affiliate KOIN in Portland.

The men found an area where the glacier meets a rock talus slope and had tunnel was formed from melting.

Backowski entered the tunnel with some of the other men, officials told KOIN.

It was reported that when the tunnel collapsed, the two other men who were inside, were struck by falling ice. Neither of those men was injured.

Warm temperatures made snow on the mountain slushier and more easily sloughed off the surface, adding to the challenge of attempting to reach the snowboarder.