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Three hurt in Mount Washington avalanche

New Hampshire Union Leader

January 17. 2013 10:25PM

MOUNT WASHINGTON - An Iraqi War veteran and two other people were injured when an avalanche swept them 800 feet down Mount Washington late Thursday afternoon, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Tiffany Benna of the U.S. Forest Service said the veteran, identified as Keith Zeier, 26, of Brooklyn who lost a leg in a roadside bomb in Iraq, was among the three people injured. She said their injuries are not life-threatening. They were taken to the Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin.

Four U.S. Forest Service snow rangers, along with 19 volunteers - 17 from the North Conway Muntain Rescue Service and one each from the Appalachian Mountain Club and the Harvard Mountain Club - rescued the hikers, who fell about 800 feet down the mountain.

The avalanche happened about 5:30 p.m. at Central Gully in Huntingon Ravine. Benna said the group knew of the avalanche warnings issued Thursday because a U.S. Forest Service snow ranger talked with them and made them aware of the hazards.

Zeier was doing an ice climb on Mount Washington to raise money for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, according to WMUR-TV. Benna confirmed he was part of the Wounded Warrior program and said the other 11 people in the party were his support team.

The U.S. Forest Service's Mount Washington Avalanche Center issued "considerable" warnings of avalanches for parts of Tuckerman Ravine on Thursday, saying natural avalanches were possible and human-triggered avalanches were likely in the Lip, Center Bowl and Chute areas.

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