[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Sunday, 7 January 2007, 07:56 GMT
Cars buried in Colorado avalanche
Avalanche over US highway 40 near Denver
The avalanche was 200ft (62m) wide and 15ft deep

A massive avalanche has hit a major highway in the western US state of Colorado, pushing cars off the road.

The avalanche, described by local rescue crews as the largest they had ever seen, struck at the Berthoud Pass, 60 miles (100km) west of Denver.

The mass of snow pushed at least two cars off the road, burying them with their occupants still inside.

Eight people were pulled from the buried vehicles and taken to hospital by helicopter.

Bob Wilson, a spokesman for the Colorado Department of Transportation, said one person had been injured.

"As far as we know, everyone has been pulled out," he added.

The avalanche was 200ft (62m) wide and 15ft deep, and buried at least two cars along US Highway 40.

Most traffic heading to the Winter Park ski area had already passed the site, reports say.

"Our preliminary reports indicate that the slide covered all three lanes of the roadway, and two cars were covered and pushed off the road, " Mr Wilson said.

"Our crews are saying it is the largest slide they have ever seen."

Colorado has been hit with three major snow storms in the last few weeks, and Winter Park, one of the largest ski areas in the state, reported 10in (25cm) of fresh snow in 48 hours.

Food drops for US storm victims
02 Jan 07 |  Americas
Colorado chaos as snow sweeps in
29 Dec 06 |  Americas

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific