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At a little past 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, February 8, the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office received a distress signal from a backcountry traveler advising of a snowmobile accident and an unconscious male in the Cottonwood Pass area.

Chaffee County Search and Rescue and Chaffee EMS initially responded to a location near the summit of Cottonwood Pass and contacted parties who were snowmobiling in the area. A male was unconscious after being pinned beneath his snowmobile. Several people in the area at the time of the accident attempted CPR, however the victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office responded and the investigation disclosed that a male, identified as Robert E Welland, age 68 of Jefferson, Colorado, was riding his snowmobile with a group of people and went out of sight from the group. When a group member went back to find Welland he found his machine overturned resting on top of the victim. The other rider pulled the machine off of the victim and CPR was started until EMS arrived.

The victim was transported out of the area and the Chaffee County Coroner transported the victim to the coroner’s office in Salida.