ALBERTA

Search Efforts Continue To Rescue B.C. Skier From Alberta Crevasse

03/18/2013 12:18 EDT | Updated 03/19/2013 12:12 EDT
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UPDATE: 5:10 p.m. MST - The missing man has been identified as Mark Taylor, general manager of Abbotsford’s parks, recreation and culture department, Abbotsford News reports.

UPDATE: 4:40 p.m. MST- The man is said to be from Abbotsford, B.C., but no name has been released and his condition is not known.

UPDATE: 2:55 p.m. MST -Search and rescue efforts have been hampered for the sixth day in a row, after a British Columbia man is believed to have fallen down a crevasse near Lake Louise last week, the CBC is reporting.

“This area is found at very high elevation in a very difficult to access terrain. We've had little cooperation with the weather. And the avalanche danger rating has been high throughout most of this time period so it's made for a very difficult rescue operation,” Parks Canada spokesperson Omar McDadi said.

Two men and a woman were skiing on Alberta's Wapta Icefield in the Waptiuk Range of the Rockies last Tuesday, when one of the men fell, reports the Calgary Herald.

Parks Canada spokesperson Omar McDadi told CBC heavy snow and poor light conditions hampered the search Sunday afternoon, after they landed a helicopter near the opening of the crevasse but could not get close enough to inspect.

According to CTV Calgary, the group was four days into a five-day ski trip when they decided to unrope themselves because they did not believe they would come across any more crevasses. A short time later, a man in his 50s skied into a crevasse and fell approximately 35 metres.

The two other skiers, believed to be the daughter and friend of the missing man, initiated a distress beacon Wednesday afternoon. They survived by digging a snow cave until rescue crews arrived Friday.

"They had sleeping bags, they even had a stove -- they were well prepared," Brad White, visitor safety specialist with Parks Canada, told Sun News.

White said there is a possibility the man could still be alive almost a week later, because he was equipped with a full pack of supplies and survival gear.

"Until we can make an exact determination of what's happened, we just need to have a look," he said.

In an initial look down the crevasse, said White, crews could only see about 20 metres in.

"Because it's so high, and the weather in the mountains is so unpredictable, we're watching the general weather trends but we need enough time to be able to get down into the crevasse in order to assess the situation," said Steve Holeczi, a visitor safety specialist with Parks Canada told CBC.

"So we need good weather in order to get up there and also to get our team out of there safely."

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