>Deadly avalanche hits Canada snowmobile mountain rally
An avalanche has struck a snowmobile gathering in western Canada, killing at least two people.
About 200 snowmobilers were taking part in the event on Boulder Mountain near Revelstoke, British Columbia, when the avalanche hit on Saturday.
Officials say people may still be trapped. Rescue teams with helicopters and search dogs are combing the area. At least 30 people were injured.
Revelstoke’s mayor said the rally had not been an authorised event.
“The Canadian Avalanche Centre (CAC) based in Revelstoke has had a warning for the last three weeks expressing extreme caution in the backcountry,” Mayor David Raven told CTV News.
Rescuers sent helicopters to Boulder Mountain at daybreak on Sunday to determine if conditions were safe for a full-scale ground search.
Police also conducted a door-to-door search of hotel rooms to determine how many people were missing from the so-called Big Iron Shoot Out, an annual extreme snowmobiling event.
A spokesman for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said on Sunday that two people were confirmed dead in the avalanche, corrected an earlier report that three had died.
According to the avalanche centre, there have been 10 avalanches in the area since Friday, when the CAC issued an extreme warning for the area.
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Avalanche Called ‘Human Triggered’By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: March 14, 2010
REVELSTOKE, British Columbia (AP) — An avalanche that killed two people on Saturday at an informal snowmobile rally in Canada’s Rocky Mountains might have been set off by three daredevil sledders who apparently unleashed a deadly wall of snow on up to 200 people below, witnesses said Sunday.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said an even worse tragedy might have been averted because many of the snowmobilers had come equipped with avalanche recovery equipment and dug people out even before rescuers arrived. The slide struck around 3:30 p.m. Saturday on Boulder Mountain.
Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said Sunday that two men were confirmed dead, not three as reported in the chaotic first hours after the slide. Corporal Moskaluk said the avalanche was “human triggered” and would be investigated by the police and the coroner’s office. Thirty people were injured, one critically, he said.
Despite avalanche warnings, about 200 people had gathered on the mountain for the Big Iron Shoot Out, an annual unsanctioned event known for its party atmosphere and stunt riding.