Multiple fatalities in avalanche near Invermere

Police confirm deaths

UPDATE: 7:45 a.m.

RCMP confirm at least one person has been killed in an avalanche in southeastern British Columbia, near Invermere.

Cpl. James Grandy says several other people among a group of heli-skiers were hurt when the avalanche hit.

A statement from B.C. Emergency Health Service says it was informed about the avalanche just before noon on Wednesday.

The service sent four ambulances to Invermere to meet incoming helicopters and four patients were taken to hospital, but their conditions were not released.

Grandy says he can't confirm how many people might have been involved or whether a search is continuing for other possible victims, but he expects to release more information through the day.

Nine people have died in B.C. avalanches this season as unstable snow conditions across most of the province create the potential for large slides.

UPDATE: 9:10 p.m.

CTV News reports that multiple people were killed in the avalanche.

“"I've heard the number of three," Invermere Mayor Al Miller told CTV. "I haven't checked with the hospital to verify that, but I understand it to be three."

Reports suggest that nine people were in the group caught by the slide.

Later in the evening, Miller spoke to Castanet, but could not confirm the number of dead or injured.

“The only thing I’m really comfortable saying is that our hearts and prayers go out to everybody, community and those involved and hope that we can all come through this together okay” said Miller.

Miller became aware something serious had happened when he heard a lot of helicopter traffic over the community.

“We have a tremendous emergency response team in town, or here in the valley, and they certainly jumped into action pretty quickly. I knew there was something going on and it was very unfortunate, because something we never like to see is an avalanche,” he said.

UPDATE: 5:10 p.m.

Four people have been taken to hospital from the scene of an avalanche near Panorama Mountain Resort.

BC Emergency health services told Castanet that they received a call at 11:45 a.m. about an avalanche 30 kilometres southwest of Invermere. BCEHS responded with four ambulances to meet helicopters in Invermere.

Paramedics cared for and transported four patients to hospital.

BCEHS did not indicate which hospital the patients were taken to or the extent of their injuries.

ORIGINAL: 3:57 p.m.

Emergency crews have been dispatched to the scene of an avalanche near Invermere.

According to the RCMP, reports came in of an avalanche in the area of Panorama Mountain Resort around noon on Wednesday.

Initial reports indicated that multiple people who had been heli-skiing were caught up in the slide.

Numerous emergency resources including search and rescue personnel, frontline RCMP officers and police dog services are on the scene.

Further details will be shared once they are confirmed.

Nine people have died in slides so far this season.

Avalanche Canada warned last week that dangerous conditions are likely to persist in the BC interior well into the spring.

Snow conditions have been compared to the 2002-2003 season, when 25 people lost their lives in BC avalanches.

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