UPDATE: Sledders lost in high risk avalanche zone near Cherryville found safe

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CHERRYVILLE - Half a dozen snowmobilers were located safe and sound this morning thanks to a full scale rescue operation.

The group was snowmobiling in the Pinnacles area near Cherryville, but didn’t come home as scheduled, prompting family members to alert the authorities.

A helicopter, avalanche technician, search dog and ground crews were deployed to the area this morning, Feb. 22.

Pete Wise, with Vernon Search and Rescue, says the group was found by the helicopter team before noon, chilly but in good health.

“The helicopter came in at the right place and the right time,” Wise says.

Wise couldn’t say why the sledders didn’t make it out on their own, but emergency rescue crews will be finding out what went wrong.

Numerous precautions were taken during the search due to an avalanche warning issued over the weekend, Wise says.

“It’s dangerous for everybody,” Wise says. “Why would you be in the backcountry when we’ve been broadcasting warning after warning of the seriousness of the snow conditions. There’s a special avalanche warning, the conditions are beyond extreme.”

Two separate weekend avalanches near Golden killed one Alberta man and injured three other people, one of them critically.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infonews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

— This story was updated at 12:24 p.m., Monday, Feb. 22, 2016 to say the sledders were found and to add further details from Pete Wise. 

Dan Albas, member of Parliament for Okanagan-Coquihalla.
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