La Pine man killed in avalanche at Paulina Peak

A La Pine man was killed in a Sunday afternoon avalanche on Paulina Peak.

According to a news release from Deschutes County Sheriff’s Lt. Scott Shelton, 28-year-old Kyle James Thomas was riding a snowmobile with two others around 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the Paulina Peak Playground when he was trapped in an avalanche estimated to be 200 yards long and about 75 yards to 100 yards wide.

The two other riders were able to avoid the avalanche and snowmobilers throughout the area began searching for Thomas. Law enforcement from the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police and the U.S. Forest Service arrived on scene around 5:45 p.m. and search and rescue volunteers arrived around 6:05 p.m.

Family and other searchers located Thomas around 5:50 p.m. and deputies verified Thomas was dead around 6:10 p.m., then removed his body.

The area where Thomas was riding was not a groomed trail, and was at an elevation of about 7,300 feet, and at a slope of about 35 degrees.

Check back with The Bulletin for more on this developing story.