INVERMERE, B.C. - Search crews who scoured an avalanche debris field on a mountainside in southeast B.C. after two people were pulled out alive say it's unlikely anyone else is buried under the snow.
The two skiers were swept up in an avalanche in an out-of-bounds area of Panorama Mountain near Invermere, B.C. Sunday afternoon.
Problems for search and rescue crews began when several witnesses had different claims about how many people may have been in the path of the slide.
RCMP Cpl. Grant Simpson said they had "frustrating" accounts that claimed either no one, or as many as 12 skiers and boarders may have been in the way.
One of the reports came from a woman caught up in the slide, Simpson said.
"From what we're getting out of her is that it was just her and her friend, or partner. But there were other witnesses that said they saw five people in the bowl and another witness figured there were 12, but it's hard to say at this point."
Dozens of people searched the area before it grew dark Sunday with probes and search dogs, but found no trace of more victims.
Simpson said they found nothing to indicate that anyone else was under the snow.
"You usually find a glove or a pair a goggles, a ski pole, something like that," he said. "They're pretty confident no one else was caught up in it."
Crews will be back in the area on Monday morning to conduct a search in a small section that hadn't been scoured by rescue crews, he said.
Simpson said a woman caught up in the slide may have spinal injuries.
Chris Elder, the director of sales and marketing at Panorama Mountain Village, said several patrol teams from the mountain helped in the search.
Elder said there are many warnings of the dangers to skiers and boarders about leaving the resort boundaries.
"On those high traffic areas we do indicate that if they're leaving the boundaries they need to be trained and prepared. That means understanding the terrain, understanding the current avalanche conditions."
The Canadian Avalanche Centre has been warning for a month that conditions are ripe for large snow slides in many areas of the province. The rating in the area where Sunday's avalanche took place was set at considerable.