Snowmobiler's heart failed

Twenty-three-year old died from an aortic aneurysm

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A 23-year-old Michigan man died of an aortic aneurysm while snowmobiling near Dumont Lake on Saturday, according to autopsy results.

Grand County Chief Deputy Coroner Brenda Bock said Tuesday that Daniel Russcher died from an aortic aneurysm caused by a congenital heart condition. Russcher's family was unaware of the condition, Bock said.

Russcher was snowmobiling Saturday morning near the Dumont Lake parking area on Rabbit Ears Pass when his snowmobile stopped suddenly and he slumped over the handlebars.

Bock said Russcher's father ran to his son and immediately began CPR. Routt County Search and Rescue crews reached Russcher about 40 minutes later and continued attempts to revive him.

Search and Rescue Incident Commander Darrel Levingston said Saturday that Russcher was unconscious when rescue crews arrived on scene.

Bock said she initially suspected that Russcher died from high-altitude pulmonary edema but changed her mind after Grand County's pathologist determined Russcher had a heart condition.

High-altitude pulmonary ede--ma is a condition that affects people who come from lower elevations and don't allow their bodies enough time to acclimate to higher elevations. It is a condition that can be fatal, Bock said.

Bock said it is unclear whether snowmobiling contributed to Russcher's death.

"Something like this could have happened while he was walking down the street," she said.

Bock performed the autopsy because the accident occurred in Grand County.

Russcher will be buried later this week in his hometown, Holland, Mich., Bock said.

-- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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