VANCOUVER - A man from Alberta was killed and four others were injured following two avalanches in British Columbia's backcountry.
The fatality occurred Friday afternoon near Sparwood in southeast B.C. close to the Alberta border and in the general area of a December 2008 slide that claimed the lives of eight local men.
"The information that I have right now is that there were a group of snowmobilers from Alberta involved in the incident," said Mark Coleman, regional coroner. "The deceased gentleman is from Alberta. He is 34 years old."
Coleman said he didn't know the name of the victim or his hometown and the investigation continues.
The Canadian Avalanche Centre issued a warning Friday that the backcountry avalanche risk was high due to weak layers in the snowpack.
Coroner Barb McLintock told The Canadian Press that search-and-rescue officials received a satellite phone call from a group of people in a remote area about 30 kilometres southeast of Sparwood, where cellphone coverage is non existent.
She said a coroner was dispatched to the scene just after 2 p.m.
In a statement issued Saturday, the RCMP said seven people were snowmobiling in the Corbin area when the avalanche hit.
Of the seven, six escaped the slide, but one person didn't and was pronounced dead at the scene, said the RCMP.
Police said search-and-rescue officials and an RCMP dog service from Cranbrook, about 90 kilometres to the west, flew into the scene by helicopter and ensured the others were safely removed from the area.
Ben Mittelsteadt, a spokesman for the BC Ambulance Service, said paramedics had taken three people to hospital with minor injuries.
Dangerous weather conditions forced paramedics to wait until Saturday morning to airlift one other from nearby Fernie, he said.
The person _ who is in stable condition _ was airlifted to hospital just before 7 a.m. local time then transferred to another facility in Cranbrook, he said.
Friday's fatality is the second avalanche-related death in B.C. this week.
A 44-year-old man from Squamish died Tuesday after he and four other snowmobilers got caught in a snowslide near Whistler.
The area is well acquainted with avalanche tragedy.
In December 2008, avalanches claimed the lives of eight male snowmobilers near Fernie, located about 30 kilometres from Sparwood.
B.C.'s avalanche warning is in effect until Sunday and covers the mountains of the Inland South Coast, the Columbia Mountains from Prince George to the U.S. border, and B.C.’s southern Rockies.