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Stranded motorist dies after trying to walk for help during mountain snow storm

A woman died during a heavy snowstorm after walking away from her stranded vehicle in the middle of a national forest in southern Utah, authorities said Thursday.

The woman's companion continued on his own for help and survived temperatures near zero overnight Tuesday in an abandoned cabin in Dixie National Forest, about 25 miles north of St. George.

The man found a group of snowmobilers the next morning who contacted police about noon. Search and rescue crews later found the woman dead in the snow, a few miles from the car.

The couple -- their relationship wasn't immediately clear -- was traveling across the national forest Tuesday from Gunlock Reservoir north to Enterprise, a distance of about 20 miles, when their vehicle got stuck.

Rescuers had difficulty getting into the remote area using snowmobiles, Washington County Sheriff's Detective Nate Abbot said.

"At one point the female couldn't go any further, so she tried to take shelter ... while the male continued on north to locate somebody to help," Abbot told The Salt Lake Tribune.

An autopsy is planned. No names were released as sheriff's officials sought to notify family members of the woman.

Abbott said motorists who get stranded by snow should remain with their vehicle instead of trying to walk off for help.

Sheriff's officials and Enterprise Fire Chief Ty March didn't immediately return calls Thursday from The Associated Press.