Int'l mountain rescue

Two mountaineers from Poland unintentionally sparked an international rescue effort after being caught in an avalanche in eastern B.C.

Robson Valley Search and Rescue manager Dale Mason says the men were climbing Whitehorn Mountain in the Canadian Rockies on Monday when they were hit by a major avalanche that tumbled them "quite a distance."

Mason says it's amazing the men were not buried or stripped of their packs. When the snow stopped moving they were on top and able to reach their satellite phone and place a call — to Poland.

A spokesman at the Polish embassy in Ottawa says the quick-thinking colleague who received the call immediately dialled the embassy in Canada, which linked up with B.C. Emergency Health Services, who then began dispatching rescuers.

Shannon Miller, of emergency health services, says it was very unusual to learn via Poland that both climbers had broken bones and were badly hurt.

Miller says the climbers were plucked from their remote location and flown to hospital in an outcome the Polish embassy says makes it grateful to the Canadian responders.

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