Bodies recovered from avalanche site near Smithers

RCMP say three of four skiers were buried by an avalanche triggered near the Burnie Glacier, 30 miles southwest of Smithers.

  • Feb. 27, 2011 12:00 p.m.
This topographical map shows the relation of the Howson Range to Smithers. The avalanche

This topographical map shows the relation of the Howson Range to Smithers. The avalanche

The RCMP have said that three out of four skiers were buried after an avalanche was triggered near the Burnie Glacier in the Howson Range, approximately 50 kilometres southwest of Smithers, at 4:45 p.m. on Feb. 26.

The group was in a non-guided recreational ski touring group based at a commercial hut.The fourth skier dug out a 64-year-old male, who sustained minor injuries. These two skiers then dug out a 52-year-old female, who was found deceased.

According to Karen Wilson with B.V. Search and Rescue, rescuers have recovered the bodies of the 52-year-old woman and a 64-year-old male. RCMP said the deceased are in the hands of the BC Coroners Service.

The Bulkley Valley Search and Rescue were at the scene each of the past three days, however unstable conditions meant they were unable to conduct a recovery or begin a search for the missing skier immediately.

The two victims are from Regina, Saskatchewan and Canmore, Alberta. Next of kin have been notified however the RCMP are not releasing the names of the victims at this time.

Bulkley Valley Search and Rescue are emphasizing that the current snow conditions are extremely unusual due in part to the ground freezing prior to the snowfall. Each back country site is unique and has a variety of compounding conditions that can make sites hazardous, they said. They hope back country enthusiasts will be aware of these issues.

The RCMP say further updates will be made as information is made available. Those will be posted to interior-news.com´╗┐