2 Heli-skiers killed, guide injured in avalanche in southeastern B.C.

Two heli-skiers are dead and their guide is recovering in hospital after being caught in an avalanche near Revelstoke, B.C., on Monday.

Authorities said the heli-skiers were near Mount McCrae, in an area known as Chocolate Bunnies, when the avalanche struck and buried them in snow.

The victims were airlifted to Kelowna and rushed to hospital, but two of them – both guests of CMH Heli-Skiing – could not be saved. The third, a guide with the company, remains hospitalized in stable condition.

CMH Heli-Skiing offered condolences to the loved ones of the deceased in a statement posted on the company’s website Tuesday.

“The thousands of guests who ski with us each winter are our family,” the statement said. “It is impossible to put into words the sorrow that we feel and the sadness that is shared by our guests, their families and all of our staff.”

Two of the heli-skiers were fully buried by the avalanche and the third was partially buried, according to the company. They were wearing transceivers, which helped to locate them in the aftermath.

The incident follows several other fatal avalanches recorded across the province in recent weeks, during a period of heightened danger in the backcountry due to fragile snowpack.

On Saturday, a snowmobiler died after being struck by an avalanche near Valemont. Earlier this month, two off-duty officers from the Nelson Police Department were caught in a slide near the community of Kaslo.

One of them, Wade Tittemore, died at the scene. He was posthumously promoted in rank from constable to detective.

The other officer, Const. Mathieu Nolet, was hospitalized for more than a week before succumbing to his injuries.

Forecasters have warned that British Columbia is likely experiencing its most dangerous avalanche season in decades, with a uniquely unstable snowpack resulting from last year’s historic draught and record-breaking winter storms.

Up-to-date information on avalanche risks is available on the Avalanche Canada website.  

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