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Body of one Colchuck Peak avalanche victim recovered

The bodies of two other climbers were not located on Friday.

LEAVENWORTH, Wash. — The body of one of three people killed during an avalanche on Colchuck Peak near Leavenworth on Feb. 19 was recovered Friday.

The body of Seong Cho, a 54-year-old Korean national residing in West Hartford, Connecticut was recovered at the base of Colchuck Peak. Friday was the first day weather conditions allowed air resources to fly into the area, according to the Chelan County Sheriff's Office.

The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office Helicopter Rescue Team was able to find Cho's body at the coordinates provided by a surviving member of the six-person climbing party. Cho's body was turned over to the Chelan County Coroner's Office.

The Helicopter Rescue Team attempted to find the bodies of Jeannie Lee, 60, and Yun Park, 66, but were unsuccessful. 

Ground teams will not be deployed until conditions are safe.

Survivors told the Chelan County Sherriff's Office of Emergency Management that the slide occurred around 1 p.m. on Feb. 19.

"It's kind of a really steep shoot between the rocks on Colchuck Peak," said Sgt. Jason Reinfeld with the Chelan County Sheriff's Office. 

Reinfeld said it started with a small slide triggered by one of the climbers that sent three climbers below down the mountain.

"And when the snow slid, they slid through this rocky chute, about 500 feet vertically," said Reinfeld.

He said that slide did not leave them buried in snow. Instead, they suffered traumatic injuries on the way down which led to their deaths. Then, subsequent avalanches complicated the recovery of their bodies.

The group was not traveling with avalanche beacons or outreach devices, as someone was forced to climb back down and notify rescuers of the incident. 

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