Skiers Buried and Snowmobiler Spent the Night Outside After 2 Separate Avalanches Near Fernie, BC

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Fernie, avalanche
Five people were skiing on Mt. Fernie when an avalanche was triggered above them, according to Fernie Search and Rescue. Credit: Fernie Search and Rescue/Facebook

Two skiers were buried in an avalanche and a snowmobiler spent the night outside in the frigid backcountry in two separate incidents near Fernie, BC this Sunday, reports CBC.

In the first event, Fernie and Search Rescue responded to a call at 11:40 am MST on Mt. Fernie in the East Kootenay region of southeastern BC.

Rescuers say five people were skiing down the mountain when an avalanche was triggered above them. Two of the skiers were caught and buried. One of them was able to get out alone. Crews found the second person 15 minutes later at the tip of the avalanche debris, just above Fairy Creek.

Three search-and-rescue members reached the skier via helicopter and longline and pulled the skier out. The skier was taken to hospital in serious condition, according to BC Emergency Health Services.

Fernie, avalanche
Fernie Search and Rescue says darkness and the risk of avalanche prevented team members from rescuing a stranded snowmobiler until Monday morning. Credit: Fernie Search and Rescue/Facebook

Later that evening, Fernie and Search Rescue received a report of a snowmobiler stuck with a broken sled in Harvey Pass, a winter recreation area near Fernie. The man was with four other people who made it out on their own and reported that he was stuck. Volunteers determined it was too dangerous to rescue the man due to the nightfall and avalanche conditions.

The man spent the night outside. Two search-and-rescue technicians flew out at first light on Monday to pick him up.  The search team says the man was cold but in good shape. He was handed over to paramedics.

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