Rescues in high-risk avalanche areas put search and rescue teams in difficult position

Think carefully before heading out to a high-risk avalanche area because you will be putting search and rescue teams in a difficult position if you go missing. That’s the message to backcountry enthusiasts from B.C. Search and Rescue after this weekend’s avalanche tragedy in the interior.

CBC REPORT — A snowmobiler died Saturday after getting caught with three others in an avalanche near Golden, B.C. The next day, 13 skiiers were struck by an avalanche in the same area, putting one of them in critical condition.

A skier with a self-guided group triggered an avalanche that critically injured two people in the Esplanade mountain range north of Golden B.C. Sunday. (Golden and District Search and Rescue)
A skier with a self-guided group triggered an avalanche that critically injured two people in the Esplanade mountain range north of Golden B.C. Sunday. (Golden and District Search and Rescue)

On Monday, six snowmobilers near Vernon were reported missing in a high-risk avalanche area, where a search and rescue helicopter later picked them up.

“The nature of the beast with search and rescue is we will go out and try to look for you,” said Pete Wise, regional director of B.C. Search and Rescue.

But rescuers follow the rule that they will not put themselves in danger.

“We have to take into consideration that we always have to put the safety of the searchers first. Search and rescue teams often enlist the help of an RCMP member, an avalanche dog, a doctor, and avalanche technicians, said Wise.

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