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A 21 year old Brigham Young University is hospitalized in extremely critical condition after being caught in an avalanche in American Fork Canyon.

On February 8, 2014, at about 5:40 PM, dispatchers with Utah Valley Dispatch Special Service District received a call reporting that a woman was missing after an avalanche came down near Tibble Fork Reservoir in American Fork Canyon. The woman was snow shoeing in steep terrain a short distance from Tibble Fork Reservoir when the avalanche broke loose and buried the woman. The woman, Ashleigh Nicole Cox, age 21, from Colorado Springs, Colorado, is attending school at Brigham Young University.

Friends who were with Cox began trying to rescue her and continued that effort until Deputies with the Utah County Sheriff's Office, Utah County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue Team members, and Lone Peak Fire and Ambulance personnel arrived. Cox was under the snow for about 20 minutes before rescuers arrived and it took them another 20 minutes to remove her from the snow. Rescuers discovered that the slide had taken Cox into a stream where she was not only under the snow but was also under water. They found Cox had no pulse and was not breathing. They initiated CPR and she was taken by ambulance to the emergency room at American Fork Hospital. Medical staff there were able to revive Cox and she was transported her to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo. She is listed in extremely critical condition.

Complicating matters is the fact that the new snow in this area was very wet, heavy snow. The Utah Avalanche Center reports that avalanche risk in the Provo Region, which includes American Fork Canyon, is high, bordering on extreme. As responders entered the canyon they reported several spontaneous avalanches along the highway, some of which partially covered the road. This prompted Deputies to close American Fork Canyon until UDOT officials could evaluate conditions there. A short time later UDOT closed SR-92 from SR-189 in Provo Canyon that leads to Sundance because of avalanche concerns.

For questions contact Sergeant Spencer Cannon, Public Information Officer, Utah County Sheriff's Office. (801)404-1912