On Sunday May 1, 2011 at around 1:30 p.m, the Atlin RCMP received a report of a heli-ski guide having fallen into a crevasse, while guiding a group of skiers, on the Swanson Glacier near Atlin, BC.
The incident occurred when the group of four skiers accompanied by two guides, where beginning their day of skiing on the Swanson Glacier, approx 65 kilometers south west of Atlin BC. The witnesses reported that one of the guides had stopped to take a photograph, when the snow beneath him gave way and he plunged into a deep crevasse. The heli-ski outfitter immediately removed it’s group of guests from the site and returned them safely to Atlin, with the remaining guide staying at the site to assist rescuers.
A company employee re-attended the site and was able to conduct a descent into the crevasse to assess the conditions and confirmed the man had unfortunately suffered fatal injuries in the fall. It was reported that the crevasse was only 1.5 m wide by 35 m deep with ice overhangs and would pose difficulties to safely effect a recovery of the deceased.
“Given the technical level of recovery that the situation posed, the Atlin Search and Rescue team coordinated the recovery effort with the Parks Canada Kluane National Park Ice Rescue Team. The Parks Canada ice rescue technicians were on route to the scene via helicopter, when developing poor weather conditions forced them to turn around. The recovery of the man’s body has been delayed by several days due to the current weather conditions and the expected long term forecast.” stated Cpl Dan Moskaluk.
The deceased, 47 years of age is from Austria and is employed in Atlin during the winter months as a heli- ski guide. The process of Notification of Next of Kin has begun with the assistance of INTERPOL to complete this task.
The Atlin RCMP and BC Coroners Services are continuing their investigation into the man’s death.