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Avalanche Victim's Body Recovered Near Cortez

CORTEZ, Colo. (CBS4) - The body of a missing Colorado snowmobiler suspected killed in an avalanche in March has been found, authorities confirmed Thursday.

The body of 47-year-old Anthony Robert Yates, of Cortez, was recovered Sunday near where search and rescue teams originally searched. Heavy snow in the area hindered earlier recovery efforts, and there are still 15 feet of snow in some locations. Yates' family and friends set up a base camp in May to renew efforts.

The recovery was first reported by the Cortez Journal on Wednesday.

In March, authorities used an Air Force Black Hawk helicopter to aid in the search. The massive slide was reported to be about a half-mile long and as deep as 34 feet in places.

Colo Ntl Guard copter helping in Snowmobiler search
The Black Hawk being used in the search (credit: Colorado National Gaurd)

Yates was with four other snowmobilers in the Bear Creek drainage near Sharkstooth Peak when the March 5 avalanche struck, the Journal reported. Four climbed out after the slide hit, but Yates did not make it out. Searchers found his snowmobile and helmet.

"I wish we could have done more, but Mother Nature didn't want to work with us," Montezuma County Sheriff Dennis Spruell told the Journal about earlier search efforts.

Montezuma Avalanche
An image of the slide (credit: Montezuma County Sheriff's Department)

Yates was married and had a 21-year-old son.

His wife, Tonya, said the recovery and his funeral bring fresh pain, the Journal reported.

"Now we have to deal with going through life without him," she said. "That's going to be hard."

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