1 person dead after avalanche in backcountry near Merritt, B.C., RCMP says

MERRITT, B.C. — A man has died after an avalanche near Merritt, B.C., the RCMP said Saturday.

Initial reports from the scene indicated one person was attempting to locate a second person trapped by a slide, the RCMP said in a statement. The two men were snowmobiling together in the backcountry when the avalanche happened.

Merritt RCMP received a report of the avalanche at around 12:40 p.m., and search and rescue personnel reached the avalanche site near Cabin Lake and Prospect Creek by air Saturday afternoon, police said.

“The victim was located by searchers, but sadly he did not survive,” said RCMP spokesman Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey in the statement.

The man’s identity will not be released.

The BC Coroners Service has been notified and is investigating the man’s death, said O’Donaghey.

The RCMP continues to encourage people to monitor Avalanche Canada for conditions and use extra caution travelling in the backcountry, according to the statement.

Avalanche Canada, a not-for-profit organization that issues daily avalanche forecasts in the winter, maintained high danger ratings for several areas in the province at alpine and treeline elevations.

A high danger rating indicates very dangerous avalanche conditions and travel in the terrain is not recommended, according to the not-for-profit organization’s website. Natural avalanches are likely and human-triggered ones are very likely.

Cabin Lake is located in the South Coast Inland area where Avalanche Canada forecast a high danger rating for alpine, treeline and below treeline elevations.

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