Snowboarder dies of hypothermia | February 27, 2009 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Community Pulse - February 27, 2009

Snowboarder dies of hypothermia

Aline Christina Martins, 19, discovered in fresh snow just off trail at Dodge Ridge

by Janet Pelletier

The Tuolumne County coroner has released results from the autopsy on Aline Christina Martins, 19, who died while snowboarding Feb. 16, ruling her death as a result of hypothermia.

"The cause of death was determined to be hypothermia," said Tuolumne County Sheriff's spokesman Paul Tualla. "The staff at Dodge Ridge ski resort felt it was suffocation, but it actually was not."

Martins was discovered just feet from a trail at Dodge Ridge ski resort near Pinecrest, which was inundated with more than five feet of snow over the long President's Day weekend. Tualla said the clothing Martins was wearing may have contributed to her hypothermic condition.

"Some of the factors may have been the clothing she was wearing - she was wearing cotton sweats, a cotton sweatshirt with a nylon shell over it," Tualla said. "It was snowing pretty good on that Monday; it was coming down pretty heavy."

Tualla added that there were no signs of trauma to Martins, ruling out that she hit a tree.

Martins was snowboarding with her brother when they became separated, according to Tualla.

"They got separated at some point in the late afternoon," he said. "She didn't meet up with him and he contacted the ski patrol. They sent out a search party to look for her. They eventually located her by a tree."

Sally Helm, who owns the ski resort with her husband Frank Helm, said Martins' brother first contacted the ski patrol at about 1 p.m. "We began a systematic approach to getting people out around the base area, getting all of the patrollers to the location of where she was last seen by her brother," Helm said.

Helm said when they located Martins, first responders could not detect a pulse and she was not breathing. Rescuers performed CPR, but resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful.

Martins and her family moved to Danville from Pleasanton last year, and she finished her senior year through San Ramon Valley Unified School District's Venture independent study school. She recently moved to Santa Barbara and was attending Santa Barbara City College with a major in child psychology. She was said to love children and had always enjoyed being a nanny, both locally and in Santa Barbara.

Martins was born June 26, 1989, in Brazil and became a U.S. citizen Jan. 29. She is survived by her parents, Adenise Medeiros and Armelio Martins; siblings Jardel and Murillo Martins; and relatives in Brazil. She modeled, played soccer for Amador, was a gymnast and a straight-A student. For a time, she worked at ClubSport. Services were held Saturday in Pleasanton. Donations in her honor may be made to the Children's Make A Wish Foundation.