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Originally published Sunday, December 9, 2007 at 12:00 AM

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Search ends for missing snowboarders

Seattle Times staff

The search for three missing Seattle-area snowboarders was called off Saturday and officials said the men likely perished in an avalanche. Rescuers on skis and helicopters have scoured rugged backcountry terrain since Tuesday for the men, who disappeared last weekend during a snowboarding trip near Crystal Mountain.

"At this point we've done everything we can do by ground or by air," said Ed Troyer, spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff's Office. "Unfortunately, the probability is they're buried in one of the slides or avalanches."

Kevin Carter, 26, Devlin Williams, 29, and Phillip Hollins, 41, had gone to the mountain Nov. 30, but failed to return as planned last Sunday.

Witnesses last saw the trio in the Bullion Basin area, and rescuers on Thursday found signs of a makeshift camp, but were unable to locate the men or pick up any signals from a rescue beacon they were believed to be carrying.

Families and friends of the men had been told that the rescue efforts would be called off if there was no sign of the men by nightfall.

Troyer said unless authorities receive clues that the men are alive, crews will wait until next spring to search for their bodies.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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