Search for missing snowmobiler near Chetwynd, B.C. suspended
VANCOUVER -- The search for a missing snowmobiler near Chetwynd, B.C. has been suspended, RCMP announced Monday.
The 31-year-old Fort St. John man is believed to have been buried in an avalanche that was triggered on Feb. 2. His name has not been released.
Police said they were notified by the International Emergency Response Centre of an emergency beacon activated around 4 p.m. last Sunday 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 about 70 km southwest of Chetwynd.
RCMP said the search was scaled back on Feb. 8 after exhaustive efforts from search and rescue volunteers from Prince George, Tumbler Ridge, Fort St. John and Chetwynd. An RCMP helicopter, three RCMP service dogs from different areas of the province, as well as a dog from the Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association were also deployed in the ground search.
RCMP Air Services was needed in order to transport the rescue teams and dogs to the slide location, which Mounties described as "remote."
Searchers did recover the man's snowmobile, which was removed from the area on Saturday.
"Search efforts have been hampered by poor weather conditions throughout the week and prevented searchers from safely accessing the area on both Wednesday and Thursday," North District RCMP said in a statement released on Monday. "A controlled blasting was necessary in order to deem the area safe for searchers to re-gain access on Friday February 7 and then again on Saturday February 8."
Mounties are encouraging back country users to avoid the area where the slide took place, and they are also discouraging people to continue searching on their own because of the high avalanche risk.
RCMP said they are continuing to provide the missing man's family with updates and RCMP Victim Services is providing "ongoing support."