RCMP confirm identity of two heli-skiers killed in avalanche south of Nelson
RCMP is slowly releasing details, as well of names of victims, from the fatal avalanche in the Bonnington Mountain Range south of Nelson Wednesday morning that claimed the life of two heli-skiers.
The two individuals, a 32-year-old female from Salt Lake City, Utah, and 31-year-old male from London, England, died after an avalanche swept down the mountain while their heli-ski party was waiting for the helicopter to retrieve them.
“The RCMP has confirmed the identity of the two individuals who were buried and killed in Wednesday’s avalanche as Katie Aring a 32-year-old woman from Salt Lake City, UT. U.S.A. and Ryan Keene, a 31-year-old man from London, England,” BC RCMP Communications Services Senior Media Relations Officer Cpl Dan Moskaluk said.
Moskaluk said the ski party had just completed a run and were waiting in the landing area with ski gear removed for the helicopter when they noticed a slide trigger above them.
“The guide instructed all to run, however they were unable to evade (avalanche) path,” Moskaluk confirmed.
“As a result, one of the five was not buried and called for help via radio to report the incident,” Moskaluk added.
“The one individual who was not buried was then joined by the other guides and skiers who had witnessed the slide and assisted within minutes to help with the rescue and recovery.”
It was reported that Keene died at the scene of the avalanche while Aring was flown off the mountain to rendezvous with BC Ambulances Services.
She later was pronounced dead in hospital.
The slide occurred at around 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Nelson Rural Area RCMP was notified of the avalanche.
RCMP then notified Nelson SAR (Search and Rescue), which were not deemed necessary in the rescue.
The RCMP would like to acknowledge and thank all those who immediately assisted in the rescue recovery operation.
The Nelson Rural RCMP is continuing to assist with the investigation and is providing support to the affected families.
The investigation is now led by the BC Coroners Services.