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    Thursday, February 12, 1998

    Snowboarder killed in avalanche

     TRUCKEE, Calif. (AP) -- A snowboarder who nearly qualified for the U.S. Olympic team was killed when an avalanche at Donner Summit buried him headfirst.
     Jamil Khan, 22, of Gloversville, N.Y., was swept away Wednesday when a cornice of ice and snow gave way and plunged down a rugged mountain slope.
     His friends, who were across a gully when the avalanche dumped, tried to dig Khan out and then called 911 on a cellular phone.
     Rescue workers found Khan buried alive beneath a metre of snow and flew him by helicopter to Tahoe Forest Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
     Khan competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials, finishing second in a December qualifier. He finished lower in the two January trials and just missed a spot on the inaugural U.S. Olympic snowboard team, now in Nagano, Japan.
     Nevada County sheriff's dispatcher Sherri Wood said Khan and his three companions had apparently entered the ungroomed and unmarked area with the idea of making a video.