Placerville woman dies after snow bridge collapses in Cottonwood Lakes area

A 65-year-old Placerville woman died June 23 after trying to lead her horse across a snow bridge in the Cottonwood Lakes Wilderness area southwest of Lone Pine.

Deborah Behrendt died after a snow bridge gave way as she was trying to lead her horse across it, according to the Inyo County Sheriff's Department. A snow bridge forms across streams or small rivulets durign spring runoff conditions and is hollow underneath a covering of snow. Behrendt's horse reacted when the bridge gave way, causing the horse behind her horse to rear up and come down on Behrendt's chest.

Although CPR was initiated on scene and Behrendt was taken to Southern Inyo Hospital, she was pronounced deceased after an hour of life-saving attempts at the hospital.

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