RCMP investigate after skier dies in avalanche near Pemberton, B.C.

PEMBERTON, B.C. — A 42-year-old man has died in an avalanche in the backcountry near Pemberton, B.C., as officials warn the risk of slides remains high to extreme across the province and Alberta.

A group of skiers were in the area of Pebble Creek on Thursday at around 3 p.m. when the avalanche happened, burying the man, said RCMP Sgt. Rob Knapton.

The man’s emergency beacon alerted the RCMP and the other skiers were able to find him using a probe, but he did not survive, Knapton said.

“They actually were able to locate the person and dig them out,” he said Friday.

“Some of the people, I understand, skied out, but they left a few people behind as well with the body and they relocated to a cabin, which was nearby, and were able to spend the night there.”

Weather conditions and flying restrictions meant the Mounties and Pemberton Search and Rescue could not enter the area until Friday morning, he said. The deceased and the other skiers were flown back to Pemberton around noon.

The man was from the Squamish area and his family has been notified. The RCMP expects to turn the investigation over to the B.C. Coroners Service.

Knapton said he didn’t know the relationship between the man and the group of skiers.

The skiers were experienced and carried the proper equipment, but police are reminding the public to take precautions when going into the backcountry.

“You can be experienced and you can have the appropriate safety equipment, but there’s always some level of risk when you’re out there,” Knapton said.

“That doesn’t mean don’t go out there. But just be aware that there’s some level of risk, and what we want people to do is make sure they do travel with the proper equipment.”

He advised skiers to carry a shovel, probe and beacon, and to be comfortable using the equipment. They should be aware of local weather forecasts and avalanche risks, and also tell someone about their plans and the time they expect to return, he said.

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