ASHLAND, Ore. -
UPDATE: Mt. Ashland Ski Patrol member Johnny Walker died after falling into a tree well, the Jackson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO) confirmed on Monday.
The agency said that an autopsy confirmed Walker died of suffocation during the incident.
An investigation found that Walker had been skiing in a group of three Mt. Ashland Ski Patrol members. Walker was at the tail end of the group as they descended a hill.
The others in Walker's group got to the bottom and looked back to find that Walker had skied into a tree well and was now trapped "upside-down" in the snow. The group picked their way back up the slope and tried to get Walker free from the snow, but found that he was no longer breathing.
"Efforts to resuscitate Walker by ski patrol members, as well as by medical personnel at the ski area, continued for approximately two hours," JCSO said.
(Updated 2/18/19 at 3:15 p.m.)
UPDATE: The Jackson County Sheriff's Office identified the skier as Johnathan "Johnny" Patrick Likeke Walker. He lived and worked in the Ashland area. The autopsy is postponed until tomorrow.
(Updated 2/18/19 at 0:45 a.m.)
INITIAL REPORT: A 23-year-old man died Saturday afternoon after reportedly colliding with a tree while skiing on Mt. Ashland. He was a member of the Mt. Ashland Ski Patrol.
On February 16, 2019, at 1:31 p.m., dispatch received a 911 call reporting a skiing accident on the south side of the mountain, outside the boundaries of the Mt. Ashland Ski Area.
Jackson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO) deputies responded to the ski area, along with personnel from Ashland Fire & Rescue.
Deputies learned the victim was among a group of Mt. Ashland Ski Patrol members skiing in the back country. The victim's fellow ski patrol members rendered aid and transported him back up the slope to the ski area. Medical personnel continued resuscitation until he was pronounced dead at 3:37 p.m.
The Jackson County Medical Examiner's Office is investigating the cause and manner of death. An autopsy is planned for Sunday.
The victim's next-of-kin has been notified.
His name will be released at a later time to allow additional family to be notified.