At least 3 dead in Washington avalanche

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Updated: 2/20/2012 3:08 pm
SEATTLE (NBC News & AP) – A search and rescue mission is underway after an avalanche reportedly killed three people near a Washington state ski area, according to King County Sheriff's Department.

Up to 8 people were reported missing at Stevens Pass, about 90 miles east of Seattle. Sgt. Cindi West of the King County Sheriff's Office confirmed the deaths of three people. She said the slide occurred in an out-of-bounds area near the local ski resort.

She said she could not confirm reports that those missing had been accounted for. According to Kirotv.com, search and rescue crews were heading to Milepost 61, near Tunnel Creek Canyon Road, which is 13.2 miles east of Skykomish on Highway 2.

The Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center on Sunday issued a warning for high avalanche danger for areas above 5,000 feet. The elevation of the avalanche wasn't immediately clear.

Meanwhile, West also says a snowboarder has been killed in a separate incident at the Alpental ski area east of Seattle. The snowboarder went over a cliff Sunday.
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