8 feared dead in B.C. avalanches
Avalanche buried in southeastern british Columbia near Fernie on sunday.Avalanche hits two times in Columbia.Eight snowmobilers are missing after being buried in an avalanche.This was happened on sunday at 2 p.m..
Three men made the wrenching decision to save themselves and leave eight fellow snowmobilers buried in the snow after two deadly avalanches in the B.C. interior on Sunday.
Teams of rescuers were to resume their search for the eight missing men at first light Monday morning, but a hospital spokeswoman said fatalities had been reported. RCMP Sgt. Tim Shields said authorities were preparing for the worst.
"We know that the more time that goes by, we have to be realistic (in) that we know what happens in these type of situations," Shields said in an interview.
"But we have hope."
Two groups of snowmobilers were out in a popular backcountry area about 40 kilometres south of Fernie when one group of seven were buried by an avalanche, police said.
A second group of four heard their shouts and raced to help dig out some of the riders, managing to get about three metres down into the snow.
A second avalanche then swept the area, burying the entire group of eleven.
Two of the buried riders managed to free themselves within about 20 minutes, RCMP said.
"These two used their avalanche beacons to locate a third buried victim, who they rescued after an additional 20 minutes of digging," the police statement said.
The three realized the possibility of a third avalanche was high and decided to get out of the area. They started to walk out, and their emergency communication devices pinpointed their location to rescue personnel.
Two of the three survivors were assessed and released while the third was expected to remain in hospital until Monday.
All 11 men were from the nearby town of Sparwood in B.C.'s Elk Valley, three hundred kilometres southwest of Calgary.
Jennifer Henkes, a spokeswoman for the Interior Health Authority said there were fatalities, but she didn't know how many.
"Interior Health would like to extend its deepest condolences to the victims' families during this very difficult time for them in the Elk Valley," Henkes said.
Forecasters at the Canadian Avalanche Centre had described the conditions in the Fernie and Lizard range on Sunday as "spooky" and able to generate avalanches easily capable of killing a person..