In this Feb. 3, 2021, photo provided by Matt Helm of the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group, two volunteers are shown after an avalanche in the Bear Mountain area near Chugiak, Alaska. The rescue group and troopers found the bodies of three hikers in the avalanche slide. (Matt Helm/Alaska Mountain Rescue Group via AP)

By MARK THIESSEN / Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The bodies of three men have been located in the debris of an avalanche slide near Anchorage, Alaska State Troopers said.

Troopers identified the victims as Thomas Devine, 54, of Chugiak; Matthew Nyman, 43, of Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Edward Watson, 50, of Miami.

“The hikers were discovered buried shallow in the snow,” Austin McDaniel, a troopers spokesperson, said in an email to The Associated Press on Thursday.

Troopers did not immediately have the dimensions of the slide, he said. The Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center is investigating the cause of the avalanche.

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Troopers said in an online report late Wednesday that next-of-kin had been notified.

The three had indicated to friends on Tuesday they were going hiking near Bear Mountain, which rises above Mirror Lake about 25 miles north of downtown Anchorage. The view from the top of the 2,000-foot mountain peak affords stunning views of the surrounding area.

The group was last seen leaving for their hike about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. They were expected to return to a parking area about 5 p.m. but didn’t show. By 10:30 p.m., they were reported overdue to the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center.

Alaska State Troopers and the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group began a ground search for the men Wednesday morning. 

Rescuers came across what they said appeared to be a recent avalanche, troopers wrote. Troopers said the bodies of the three were found in that slide area.

None of the three had a personal locator or avalanche beacon, troopers said.

“There is a potential for additional avalanche activity in the area of Bear Mountain, and Alaska State Troopers are asking hikers to avoid the area until conditions improve,” the report said.

The Associated Press