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Bodies of Boston snowshoers recovered from avalanche site near Lake Louise
Published Friday, March 17, 2017 2:35PM MDT
Last Updated Friday, March 17, 2017 4:47PM MDT
Parks Canada safety specialists have recovered the bodies of two American tourists who were buried in an avalanche in Banff National Park earlier this week.
A man and woman from Boston were reported missing on Monday when they didn’t check into their hotel in Field, B.C.
“Early information that we received from the hotel was that the pair were a 32-year-old man and a 32-year-old woman who were visiting the park from Boston, Massachusetts. The man and the women were said to have last been seen on Saturday, March 11 when they had breakfast at the hotel,” said RCMP Corporal Curtis Peters.
A search for the missing couple was launched at about 12:20 p.m. Tuesday and their rental vehicle was found near a trailhead off of Highway 93 a few hours later.
“Snow cover on the vehicle and in the parking lot around the vehicle indicated that the car had been parked there for some time,” said Peters.
Officials believe the slide happened on the slopes of Mount Hector on Sunday and search crews were able to pick up signals from two avalanche transceivers from the area.
“We immediately dispatched a helicopter and a search team from Banff and while we were waiting for them to arrive, two visitor safety specialists skied up Hector Creek looking for any clues they could find. About 20 minutes up the trail we encountered a large avalanche down covering the trail. We went a little bit further and were able to identify one of the people on the surface of the avalanche,” said Grant Statham from Parks Canada. “We were unable to start a rescue recovery due to the avalanche risk in the area so we called in our location and returned back to the road to meet the rest of the search and rescue team.”
Unstable weather conditions kept crews out of the area for a couple days but on Friday both bodies were recovered at about 10:30 a.m.
“Parks Canada Safety Specialists hiked up the Mount Hector trail and came upon an avalanche scene where they were able to determine that the two individuals had been caught in that avalanche,” said Peters. “Staff from Parks Canada recovered the bodies of both individuals earlier today and the RCMP has confirmed the identities of both deceased.”
“We put six people onto the site to begin searching. Very quickly after we arrived on the site, we picked up the signals and within ten minutes of arriving on the site, we determined the locations of the two subjects. Over the next hour and a half we were able to dig and recover them from the avalanche. The first person was located down 200 centimetres and the second person was located down 320 centimetres,” said Statham.
Police say they are not revealing the identities of the pair but CBS in Boston says the couple has ties to Massachusetts General Hospital.
Officials released images of the avalanche site on Mount Hector, north of Lake Louise.