1 killed, more feared dead and injured after avalanche near Invermere, B.C.

Click to play video: 'Fatality confirmed after avalanche near Panorama, B.C.'
Fatality confirmed after avalanche near Panorama, B.C.
WATCH ABOVE: At least one person has died following an avalanche near Panorama, B.C. on Wednesday. Jayme Doll has the latest – Mar 2, 2023

At least one person was killed in an avalanche while heli-skiing near the mountain ski resort of Panorama along the Alberta-B.C. border, RCMP confirmed Wednesday evening.

Emergency crews responded around 12:40 p.m. to reports of a slide that happened around noon, the southeast district officer for B.C. RCMP told Global News.

“Initial report is that multiple people, who had been heli-skiing in the area, may have been caught up by the avalanche,” James Grandy said.

RCMP could not say if there were more victims or how many people were involved in the avalanche. As of Wednesday evening, police were still working to determine who all was involved and where they are from.

Police said numerous emergency resources, including support from search and rescue, police dog services and frontline RCMP officers, responded to the area.

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The Mayor of Invermere said multiple people were killed and several more injured. Al Miller also told Global News the exact number of deaths was still unknown.

“It happened outside the bounds of Panorama, it wasn’t inside the resort, it was in the heli-ski area territory,” Miller told Global News.

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He adds, his thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the accident.

“We don’t have accidents like this happening very often. And it’s because of the high, high safety standards that our operators work with.”

RK Heliski, the company involved in the incident, said nine guests and one guide were caught in the slide, which happened near the Panorama Mountain Resort, about 30 kilometres southwest of Invermere.

B.C. Emergency Health Services said it was called at 11:45 a.m. about the slide.

Four ambulances were deployed to meet helicopters at Invermere, and transported four patients to hospital, it said.

The severity of their injuries and whether anyone else was unaccounted for remains unclear.

Click to play video: 'Backcountry users warned of dangerous and unstable snowpack across B.C.'
Backcountry users warned of dangerous and unstable snowpack across B.C.

Avalanche Canada confirmed preliminary reports of a slide near Invermere, but said it did not have further information.

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The organization currently lists the danger rating in the region’s alpine as “considerable.”

“Steer clear of freshly wind loaded features. Wind slabs are expected to remain reactive to human triggers,” Avalanche Canada said on its website.

“Avoid thin and rocky start zones, especially in the alpine and upper treeline where deeply buried weak layers remain concerning.”

British Columbia is in the midst of one of its deadliest avalanche seasons in years, with nine fatalities already reported since the new year.

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