Twin Lakes, CO Deadly Avalanche, Jan 1962


Twin Lakes, Colo. (UPI) - Fear that winds might rip a second avalanche loose from the highest mountain in the Rockies made hazardous today the search for the seventh victim of the worst avalanche in Colorado history.
A state highway department avalanche control unit planned to shoot down the second slide with a 77 mm howitzer, if it appeared too threatening. About a dozen families were evacuated as a precaution.
Searchers said they may not find the body of 7-year-old MICHAEL ADAMICH before spring. The child is buried somewhere under the tons of snow, rock and ice that thundered off the side of cloud-shrouded, 14,431-foot Mt. Elbert before dawn Sunday.
The avalanche cut a swath of destruction a quarter of a mile wide for a distance of more than four miles. It swept away four houses and five automobiles and trucks, and buried nine members of two families who resided in two of the houses. The other two houses were vacant.
Rescuers dug with shovels, sticks and their bare hands to reach those entombed by the massive slide. They were able to save only two of the nine MICHAEL'S mother and father.
MICHAEL'S 8-year-old brother, WILLIAM, JR., and a neighboring family of five were killed.
They were:
G. L. SHELTON, 42.
his wife MARIE, 40.
their children, STEVE, 15; LINDA, 10; and VICKI, 7.
"It looked like the whole side of the mountain was coming down," said Don Stephens, owner of the Twin Lakes Lodge here.
"It ripped up trees like they were toothpicks. It was awful."
Trees were cleared from the area as if they had been logged out.
"It was just a big explosion," Stephens said.

The Daily Notes Canonsburg Pennsylvania 1962-01-22