Two teenagers from Illinois died Sunday night in Colorado after they were involved in a sledding accident during a spring break trip.
The Summit County, Colorado, Sheriff’s Office stated that a 17-year-old boy and an 18-year-old boy were at Copper Mountain Ski Resort and were riding tandem when they “launched off a large snowbank at the bottom of the halfpipe” at about 8:35 p.m., local time. The two suffered blunt force trauma due to coming down “hard on the hard ice,” and were pronounced dead at the scene.
The two were given immediate medical attention, according to reporting from the Colorado Sun, but the boys could not be revived. “Our thoughts and condolences go out to the families and friends of the individuals involved in this tragic incident,” Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons said. The sledders’ identities had not been released as of Tuesday. However, the Pontiac Daily Leader reported the victims were Prairie Central High School seniors Dylan Bazzell and Drew Fehr, both of Fairbury, Illinois, citing information provided by authorities. The news outlet also said both teens were members of the high school’s basketball and football teams, respectively.
The Sheriff’s Office said their deaths remain under investigation by the county coroner’s office.
A spokesperson on behalf of Copper Mountain said that the halfpipe was roped off at the time of the accident, with all lifts and trail access closed at 4 p.m. local time, each day. The halfpipe, used for Olympic-qualifying events, is 22 feet tall and nearly 550 feet in length.
The teens rode down tandem down the halfpipe and launched off onto the snowbank at the bottom, according to ABC7 Chicago.
The boys were students at Prairie Central High School in Fairbury, Illinois, about 100 miles southwest of Chicago. Paula Crane, superintendent of Prairie Central Community Unit School District Number 8, said in a statement that “the loss will affect everyone in our school family and our communities.” “Students may have a difficult time dealing with the loss, and we encourage you to talk to your child,” Crane added.
Colorado was also reeling from a Sunday fatality of a skier near Aspen Highlands Ski Resort, who died after an avalanche about 200 feet wide went 2,000 feet down from the upper face of a loaded slope, according to the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.
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