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Eagle County avalanche victims identified

Tom Lotshaw and Pam Boyd
Vail Daily

 

Search and rescue personnel look for three people missing after an avalanche Monday, Feb. 2, near Silverton. The men were confirmed dead Tuesday.
Photo from San Juan County Office of Emergency Management

EAGLE — The three Eagle County residents killed in an avalanche Monday, Feb. 2, near Silverton have been identified as Seth Bossung, Andy Jessen and Adam Palmer.

“Our hearts are heavy with the loss of these three men,” read a joint statement from Eagle County and the town of Eagle. “Their contributions through their work in local government and local businesses, as well as their personal passions and their impact on the friends and family members they leave behind, have helped shape the community in ways that will be forever lasting.”

Eagle County Manager Jeff Shroll said the situation “is not yet real” for many county employees, himself included.



“This cuts deep throughout the community. These guys were so involved,” Shroll said.

Bossung and Palmer were both Eagle County employees. Palmer worked as director of the county’s Sustainable Communities program while Bossung worked as the county’s energy efficiency project manager.



Jessen was a co-founder of Bonfire Brewing in Eagle. The business opened in November 2010 and quickly grew into a popular microbrewery and community gathering place.

Palmer and Jessen were elected to the Eagle Town Council in recent years. Jessen was elected in April 2018 and served as mayor pro tem. Palmer was elected in April 2020.

Bossung, Jessen and Palmer were among the four local backcountry skiers caught and buried by a large avalanche Monday afternoon in an area known as “The Nose” between Silverton and Ophir. Other members of the group not caught by the avalanche were able to find and dig out one of the four men, who had minor injuries. Bossung, Jessen and Palmer have not yet been recovered.

Search and rescue operations started Monday evening and continued late into the night. They resumed Tuesday morning but were hampered by dangerous conditions. Officials in San Juan County plan to resume the recovery operation as soon as conditions allow.

As the community continues to await official announcements from the avalanche site, Eagle Mayor Scott Turnipseed wanted to recognize the ongoing recovery efforts underway near Silverton.

“The people of Eagle want to send our sincerest thanks to the emergency workers in San Juan County,” Turnipseed said. “We know they have been working tirelessly on this sad mission and we are so grateful for their dedication.”

Turnipseed noted that Eagle pulls together during tragic times such as these.

That view was reflected in the statement issued by the town and county, which concluded by saying: “The strength of our community is rooted in our shared love for this place and the people who live here. Andy, Adam and Seth exemplified this every day. Please find ways to come together safely and share your stories of them and others. We will do the same.”

Bossung and Palmer were both fathers, and Eagle County Schools announced Wednesday that extra grief counselors will be on hand at schools most closely connected to the families. The district encouraged students and staff who are struggling to seek support.

“The loss of three amazing and vibrant community members this week to the avalanche in Silverton has left us with heavy hearts and deep sadness,” Superintendent Philip Qualman wrote in an email to school district staff and families.

“Many of our staff have personal connections with the families involved. We loved and appreciated the men who were lost, teach and cherish their children, and grieve with their significant others and families,” Qualman wrote. “Because they were so involved in our community, this tragedy is widely felt. But, we also have the community to support one another as we process and heal.”

Donation pages have been set up on the website GoFundMe, where people can make financial contributions and offer messages of support for the families of Bossung, Jessen and Palmer.

This story is from VailDaily.com.


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