ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – At least one person was believed buried after an avalanche Sunday 50 miles north of Anchorage, Alaska State Troopers said.

Two witnesses said they saw the avalanche at Hatcher Pass cover a snowmobile rider.

Poor weather made searching by airplane impossible Sunday, but state troopers, the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group and a local snowmobile group searched the area until darkness fell Sunday afternoon.

After several hours under the snow, any victims were presumed to have died and troopers did not want to risk the safety of searchers in the recovery effort.

The area has had heavy snow followed by heavy rain recently, setting up conditions ideal for avalanches. The pass, in the Talkeetna Mountains, is popular with backcountry skiers, snowboarders and snowmobilers.

.c The Associated Press