A 36-year-old Calgary man was killed and another man survived being buried by an avalanche near Egypt Lake in Banff National Park on the weekend, according to police. RCMP Const. Mike Hibbs said the tragic incident happened Saturday afternoon near the Egypt Lake Shelter.
The skier who survived was partially buried in the slide, said Lisa Paulson, a visitor safety specialist with Parks Canada, reports CBC. He was able to get himself free of the snow but it took a long time, she added. The skier then made his way to the shelter, where he found people with emergency satellite communication devices, who activated them to call for a rescue.
Parks Canada got the call around 7 pm Saturday evening, leaving just enough daylight left to send a helicopter to the area, Paulson said. The other skier hadn’t been fully buried in the slide but had suffered severe injuries in the slide. He was pronounced dead at a Banff Hospital.
It appears that the avalanche was skier-triggered and size-2.5 slide on the five-point scale used by Avalanche Canada. A size-2 slide is defined as enough to bury, injure or kill a person. A size-3 avalanche is large enough to bury a car, break trees or destroy a small, wood-framed building.
The avalanche danger in Banff on Saturday was rated as high in the alpine and considerable at treeline and below treeline.
There have been 23 avalanche fatalities in the United States and 7 in Canada this season.