Woman rescued from avalanche near Pemberton

Large slide occurred near Wendy Thompson Hut on Sunday (Feb. 7)

One woman is lucky to be alive after she was pulled out of an avalanche north of Pemberton on Sunday (Feb. 7).

Pemberton RCMP were alerted to the incident around 3:40 p.m. when someone with limited cell service called them for help from near the scene. Pemberton Search and Rescue flew to the area -- near the Wendy Thompson Hut off the Duffy Lake highway -- by helicopter and determined that no one else was buried in the slide.

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Police say a group of 10 people were ski and snowboard touring one person at a time when an avalanche was triggered 100 metres above the last skier in the group. They began to blow their whistles to alert the skier of the danger and he skied out of the avalanche path in time. However, as the avalanche continued down the slope it hit several people, partially burying three and fully burying one woman.

Members of the group, along with three other men and five women, quickly set to work and rescued the woman -- who was buried under 1.5 metres of snow -- in three to six minutes, police say. She was unconscious and unresponsive when she was pulled from the slide, but she recovered.

"The groups were all properly equipped for backcountry travel and had varying levels of experience," RCMP said, in a release. "Several members of the group had taken formal avalanche training and put those skills to use to effect the rescue. While this group was well equipped and prepared, the incident highlights the need to be vigilant in the backcountry as avalanche and weather conditions can change quickly and without warning."

Police are encouraging anyone heading into the backcountry to visit this link for safety tips: http://bc.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/ViewPage.action?siteNodeId=2082&languageId=1&contentId=13946

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