Search suspended for snowmobiler missing after avalanche near Chetwynd, B.C.

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      After a week of attempts to locate a snowmobiler who vanished after an avalanche in northeastern British Columbia, efforts are being scaled back.

      On February 3, North District RCMP stated that the International Emergency Response Coordination Centre notified Chetwynd RCMP shortly after 4 p.m. on February 2 about an emergency beacon signal on the east face of the Murray Mountain range between Mount Hunter and Milburn Peak, south of Pine Le Moray Provincial Park. (The park is located southwest of Chetwynd, B.C.)

      An avalanche had taken place while a group of snowmobilers were in the area. A 31-year-old man from Fort St. John remained missing.

      Although Chetwynd RCMP asked for help from search and rescue, crews couldn’t enter the area due to weather conditions and potential avalanches and had to wait until conditions stabilized.

      The search involved search and rescue volunteers from Prince George, Tumbler Ridge, Fort St. John, and Chetwynd, along with more than three RCMP police dogs and a Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association canine, an RCMP helicopter, and other local helicopter companies.

      Searchers located the missing man’s snowmobile, which was removed from the area on February 8.

      Despite efforts over the past week, poor weather conditions prevented searchers from safely accessing the area on February 5 and 6.

      A controlled blasting was conducted in order to make the area safe for searchers to enter on February 7 and then again on February 8.

      Unfortunately, the missing individual wasn’t located and by the end of February 8, the search was reduced.

      However, RCMP will continue to monitor the area of the slide from the air as the snowpack melts.

      RCMP are asking outdoor users to avoid the slide area and discourage anyone from searching the area due to the high avalanche risk.