SICAMOUS - The search for a missing Sicamous man has ended in tragedy.
The 34-year-old overdue snowmobiler was found dead at an avalanche slide in the Morton Lake area of the Owl’s head Recreation area after being reported missing by his family around 2:20 a.m. today, March 8, Sicamous RCMP confirmed this afternoon. He was last seen Sunday afternoon by a fellow snowmobiler.
Shuswap Search and Rescue was up at first light alongside an RCMP helicopter in hopes of locating the man. Many members of the Eagle Valley Snowmobile Club, and concerned family members, assisted in the efforts.
“It was known that the man was carrying both a GPS spot beacon device and a transceiver receiver,” Cpl. Dan Moskaluk says in a media release. “Hampered by poor visibility, the air search was short, however successful in locating a fresh avalanche slide and a single snowmobile track.”
Searchers were able to obtain a pinged location from the GPS device agency which corroborated their findings at the fresh avalanche location near Skinny Ridge by Morton Lake.
“Ground searchers were about to be turned around due to the continued avalanche risk just as some of them had made it onto the slide area and commenced searching for the man. The man was located deceased with the aid of the transceiver receiver that he was equipped with,” Moskaluk says.
Searchers have airlifted the man’s body from the area.
John Schut, with Shuswap Search and Rescue, said ten members of Shuswap Search and Rescue were assisting in the search with the help of roughly another ten members of the Eagle Valley Snowmobile Club. An RCMP helicopter was flying overhead, and a second aircraft had been brought in with an avalanche technician to drop explosives.
“It will dislodge some of the overhanging snow that’s of an avalanche concern,” Schut said earlier today. “Otherwise we send rescuers in and there’s a chance they’ll be buried in another avalanche. We don’t want them out there in conditions that are unsafe.”
Schut also noted the man had previously helped another snowmobiler before heading back out.
“The person that saw him, he actually helped this person who had an ankle injury, he helped the person back down and then carried on snowmobiling on his own,” Schut said.
The RCMP will continue to assist the B.C. Coroners Office with their investigation into the man’s death. The man's name has not been released.
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— This story was updated at 3:17 p.m., March 8, 2016, after the snowmobiler was found deceased.