Three German Heliskiers Die in Canada Avalanche

The accident happened near Panorama in British Columbia. It brings the total number of avalanche fatalities in the Canadian Province this winter to twelve. UPDATED

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said the three were among ten skiers caught by the slide on Wednesday near the Panorama Mountain Resort, near Invermere.

It is 150kms (90 miles) southwest of Banff, Alberta.

Four others are inured but they are expected to recover.

All the people in the group, except the guide, were foreign nationals.

The guide is said to be seriously injured but his injuries are not life-threatening.

The identities of those involved have not been released as next-of-kin are informed.

The dead are all from Germany and came from the muncipality of Eging in Bavaria in southern Germany.

“All of us in our community are deeply upset and feel deep sorrow,” said the local mayor of Eging, Walter Bauer.

“I myself am shocked, stunned and still cannot believe how cruel life can be,” Bauer said.

“The loss of a human being always affects the relatives and friends deeply, but a sudden and so tragic death of three people is even harder to cope with.

“All our sympathy and grief in these difficult hours is of course especially for the relatives and surviving relatives. Our thoughts are with them.”

A  25-year-old man who was injured but survived was given the heli-ski trip for completing his thesis, according to a German news outlet.

His 57-year-old father was killed in the avalanche, along with the older man’s son-in-law, who was 34.

A 57-year-old family friend also died.

Heliskiing in British Columbia, Canada. Image © PlanetSKI

Heliskiing in British Columbia, Canada. Image © PlanetSKI

It is the sixth avalanche incident in British Columbia with unstable snow conditions across most of the province creating the potential for large slides.

Lisa Perazzoli, an Avalanche Canada spokesperson, said the danger in the area where the avalanche occurred was rated as “considerable”.

Level 3 on a scale of 5.

The size was also rated a three out of five – large enough to break trees, bury and destroy cars, and damage vehicles and buildings.

“It’s important to know that a dangerous snowpack structure exists in the BC Interior that can produce large human-triggered avalanches,” added Perazzoli.

The group had booked with RK Heliski.

“The guests and the guides who ski with us each season are part of our family. We are heartbroken about the accident that happened yesterday near Invermere, BC.,” said RK Heliski in a statement.

Around 44,000 people go heli-skiing in British Columbia each winter according to HeliCat Canada.

The season runs from mid-December through the end of April, employing roughly 3,000 staff.

An investigation into the latest accident is underway.

We will bring you further details as we receive them.

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