3 dead in separate Montana avalanches

Winter in Cooke City, Mont.
Cooke City Chamber of Commerce

HELENA, Mon - Authorities in Montana say two snowmobilers and a skier have died in three separate avalanches.

The Livingston Enterprise reports that 44-year-old David Lee Gaillard was skiing with his wife Saturday afternoon southeast of Cooke City when an avalanche occurred.

Park County Coroner Al Jenkins says Gaillard's wife couldn't find her husband and emergency responders recovered the body.

About two hours earlier, another avalanche occurred north of Cooke City. County officials say the avalanche buried 46-year-old Jody Ray Verhasselt for 12 minutes before two snowmobiling companions pulled him out.

Two other men died this weekend due to snow-related accidents, according to the Montana Standard. A 20-year-old Butte man, whose name was not released, triggered an avalanche east of Red Lion with his snowmobile. 52-year-old Allan Voss died Saturday hile snowmobiling around the same area, but authorities believe his death may be due to a medical condition. An autopsy is underway.

Granite County Sheriff Stephen Immenschuh tells the Montana Standard that unstable snow in the mountains has created dangerous conditions.