An 18-year-old skier injured in a small avalanche in Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island has been airlifted to safety.
The teen was hoisted out of the area, five kilometres west of Mount Washington, just after 3 a.m. and is being treated in hospital for a suspected broken leg.
Rescue efforts began Tuesday afternoon when the slide occurred in an area west of the Mount Washington Ski Resort boundaries, catching a group of four backcountry skiers, ranging in age from 18 to 30.
Members of the Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue reached the group Tuesday evening and stabilized the injured skier, who was lying in chest deep snow at the base of a nearly eight metre cliff.
Air force search and rescue technicians from the 442 Squadron based in nearby Comox were lowered to the scene late Tuesday night to assist the ground crews and prepare the teen for the early-morning airlift.
Officials say the stranded ski-touring party was well-prepared for the conditions, and the remaining three skiers were led out of the avalanche area by the Comox Valley rescue team members.