Skier missing in Canadian glacier crevasse

March 17, 2013 at 6:45 PM

LAKE LOUISE, Alberta, March 17 (UPI) -- Blizzard conditions this weekend kept searchers from looking for a skier who fell in a crevasse in Western Canada's Wapta Icefield, authorities said.

The unidentified British Columbia man was with two companions when he fell in the opening Tuesday night near Lake Louise, the Calgary Herald reported Sunday. Bad weather and the risk of avalanche kept rescuers from reaching the accident scene until Friday.

"We know he disappeared down a crevasse around 7:30 on Tuesday night," Brad White, visitor safety specialist with Banff, Kootenay and Yoho National Parks, told the newspaper. "His avalanche beacon was working at that time -- the party that was with him did pick up a signal. But it was a weak signal at over 35 meters [115 feet]. Until we can get a rescue crew down in that hole, we can't really speculate on his condition."

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported the trio included two men and a woman from British Columbia. The network said they were on the Wapta Traverse in the Wapituk range of the Rockies at an elevation of about 2,600 meters (8,500 feet).

Steve Holeczi, a visitor safety specialist with Parks Canada, said the bad weather was keeping crews from venturing out.

"Because it's so high, and the weather in the mountains is so unpredictable, we're watching the general weather trends but we need enough time to be able to get down into the crevasse in order to assess the situation," he said. "So we need good weather in order to get up there and also to get our team out of there safely."

The Calgary Sun reported Holeczi said man and woman who were rescued were well-prepared and had crafted a shelter to keep warm. They were uninjured when reached, he said.

The missing skier had similar equipment, but Holeczi said his condition was unknown.

"There's been no contact," Holeczi said.

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Topics: Parks Canada
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