KAMLOOPS - Snowboarders are missing near Sun Peaks and search teams are heading in to find them, but who they are and exactly how many isn't certain.
The only evidence of missing people are seven sets of tracks leading out of bounds in the Henderson Creek area. Search manager Alan Hobler says it’s a common area for people to go missing; even though its out of bounds, the slope looks like it offers a natural path back to the village but it doesn’t.
“It looks like nice ski terrain,” he says. “It lures people down there and then they feel committed to going down and usually they end up in the creek.”
Hobler says they can’t be certain they’re looking for seven people, and they don’t know if it’s a single group of seven people or seven individuals, or somewhere in between. He's concerned one person took the route and others saw the tracks and followed them at different times.
"We might not know if we have everyone," he says. “We’re not going to go home until we’re certain we’ve gotten everyone out.”
RCMP are already on the scene and 18 members of Kamloops’s search team are on their way, after being called around 6 p.m. tonight, Feb. 20, including two high level avalanche technicians.
“It’s dangerous for these people to be out there and it’s dangerous for our people to head up there,” he says. “It can be very unstable.”
While conditions are fair in the area, the area is still an avalanche zone which is always a danger.
The search could go into the morning. Often people who get lost in the area aren't prepared to spend a night in the wilderness, he says.
The search and rescue team have pulled people out of that area a number of times before, Hobler says, in a variety of conditions, as some try to walk through the creek in ski boots. Others they’ve found were nearly ready to give up.
This time the search team will have a new tool though, as the team has also called in their drones that use infrared cameras to detect heat. Hobler says this will be the first major search the local team will use drones for, which are coming from Revelstoke.
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