UPDATED: Identities of skiers killed in avalanche confirmed
RCMP have confirmed the two people who died in Wednesday's avalanche as Katie Aring, 32, of Salt Lake City, and Ryan Keene, 31, of London, England.
They were in a party of heli-skiers in the Bonnington mountain range near Blewett caught in an avalanche at about 10 a.m. Wednesday.
The investigation has revealed the group had just completed a run and was preparing to be retrieved by a helicopter at a designated landing area with their ski gear removed.
The skiers observed a slide had been triggered from a ridge above them. The guide instructed all of the group members to run, however they were unable to evade its path.
One of the five was not buried and called for help via a radio.
The heli-ski operator had several other guides tending to other groups on nearby slopes who witnessed the slide and who immediately responded,
Within minutes, other guides and skiers joined and assisted with the rescue and recovery of the buried party members.
Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said that it is still unknown how the avalanche was triggered.
RCMP immediately activated Nelson Search and Rescue. However, they were stood down shortly after as the heli-ski operator had activated its emergency protocol.
Keene was confirmed dead while Aring was recovered unresponsive and suffering from life threatening injuries. She later died.
Others in the group suffered non-life threatening injuries.
The avalanche was classed as a 3.5 slide out of a scale of 1 to 5.
A Finnish man died last month in an avalanche last month during a heli-ski tour on Meadow Mountain.