Missing snowshoer found dead in avalanche debris on Vancouver's North Shore

By The Canadian Press
February 20, 2019 - 8:30am

VANCOUVER — Searchers discovered the body of a missing snowshoer in avalanche debris on Vancouver's North Shore on Wednesday, two days after he was swept away.

Peter Haigh of North Shore Rescue says searchers made the discovery on Runner Peak, north of Mount Seymour.

He says the BC Coroners Service will investigate the cause of death but the man appears to have suffered trauma when the avalanche hit.

The mother of the 39-year-old Surrey, B.C., snowshoer has identified him as Remi Michalowski.

The man was hit by an avalanche on Monday that pushed his 30-year-old companion up against a tree but left him uninjured and able to call for help.

The younger man was airlifted out of the area late Monday, while darkness and a subsequent snowstorm forced suspension of search efforts for almost 36 hours.

Searchers with specially trained dogs returned to the challenging area Wednesday morning to search through the debris pile left by the avalanche.

Haigh is urging hikers to be careful on the slopes.

"Avalanches, they're so bloody dangerous and they're so unpredictable. It's very, very frustrating," he says.

Avalanche Canada has upgraded the slide risk to "considerable" in the treeline of the south coast mountains where the man's body was found.

A post on the Avalanche Canada website says "an unusual, weak layer makes steep and convex terrain features particularly dangerous."

Heavy snow has fallen across southern B.C. over the last 10 days and Avalanche Canada says 30 to 50 centimetres of new snow on the south coast mountains is poorly bonded to the base, with the problem especially pronounced on the North Shore.

(The Canadian Press, News1130)

The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version that moved Wednesday said North Shore Rescue was North Shore Search and Rescue.

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