Two people were killed after getting swept up by a massive avalanche in a mountain pass in British Columbia, Canadian authorities said.
The two skiers were climbing by foot on a slope near the Alaskan border when they were buried by the avalanche, which barreled into a terrain trap, Avalanche Canada said. A third skier who was with the victims was partially buried but managed to get free and used a satellite messaging system to get help, the organization said.
The skiers were friends from Haines, Alaska, the Haines Volunteer Fire Department said in a news release. Their names will not be released until family members are notified, the department said.
“The Canadian authorities will make arrangements to transport the deceased back home to the United States,” it said. “Our prayers are with all members of their families and (our) hearts are broken in their loss.”
Terrain traps, Avalanche Canada says, make the “consequence of an avalanche more serious.”
“Steep-sided depressions, such as gullies, creek beds, and ditches will trap moving snow and cause the avalanche to accumulate much more deeply in a small area,” it said. “Trees, rocks, and cliffs can lead to greater injury if you’re caught in an avalanche.”
The group was at an altitude of about 3,313 feet, the Alaska Avalanche Information Center said.