2 killed, 2 hurt by avalanche in eastern Oregon

February 12, 2014 Updated: February 12, 2014 at 1:46 am

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A sheriff's officer says low clouds and poor visibility have grounded a rescue effort for two backcountry skiers seriously injured in an avalanche that killed two other skiers in eastern Oregon's Wallowa Mountains.

Baker County Undersheriff Warren Thompson says two National Guard helicopters hope to renew rescue efforts at first light Wednesday.

Thompson says four unhurt skiers from the group of eight are being brought out by snowcat — a large, tracked vehicle that can maneuver on snow. They were expected to spend the night at the small town of Halfway, Ore.

Sheriff Mitch Southwick says the avalanche hit about noon Tuesday as the group skied in a remote area.

Most of the skiers are from the Seattle area. Officials aren't releasing names until relatives can be notified.

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