Hiking Tragedy: Five bodies recovered near Lions Bay, B.C.
Monday, April 10, 2017, 6:25 AM - Five bodies have been recovered near Lions Bay, B.C., by rescue crews searching for a group of snowshoers who went missing Saturday on Mount Harvey.
The five hikers were reported missing around 4 p.m. Saturday after one member who fell behind the six-person group spotted their tracks near the summit with no sign of his partners in sight.
It's believed the five hikers fell after stepping on an ice and snow cornice that broke away, CBC reports.
A cornice is an overhanging edge of snow on the ridge or the crest of a mountain that is formed by high winds.
"It appears like the group stepped on this overhang, which is not easy to see when you're on top of it, and that it broke away, and they fell down the north face of Mount Harvey," Lions Bay Search and Rescue manager Martin Colwell told CBC.
It's possible the group may have fallen 500 metres.
"This is not the outcome which we had hoped for," Cpl. Sascha Banks of Squamish RCMP said in a release. "Our thoughts are with the families and friends of the hikers and the search and rescue teams in Lions Bay."
Avalanche risk in the Lower Mainland is considerable, with more mountain snow expected into Monday.
Brent Calkin, a member of Lions Bay Search and Rescue, told CBC a helicopter survey confirmed an avalanche had occurred in the area of the missing hikers.
Ground crews and at least two helicopters were involved in the search for the missing hikers. Four bodies were discovered early Sunday afternoon, while the fifth body was not found until late afternoon.
Calkin says dozens of centimetres of snow have fallen on the area over the past few days, and continuing avalanche risk was making for dangerous conditions.
"People have to be prepared for those conditions, it may as well be January up there," he told CBC News.
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