Avalanche claims life of German skier

On February 18, Columbia Valley RCMP Detachment was advised of a fatal avalanche accident that occurred east of Jumbo Mountain.  A group of skiers were heli skiing with RK Heli ski company with a heli guide. The area where three males were caught in an avalanche described as 150 meters wide, that ran down the mountain for approximately 300 meters.

Three adult males were caught up in the avalanche.  A heli guide assisted by other skiers in the group using beacons, recovered one male buried who received non-life threatening injuries.  A second male was partially buried was rescued. The third male, identified as Gotz-Thilo Ries, aged 34, of Karlsehie, Germany, was found buried and unresponsive. This male was immediately flown to Invermere Hospital by RK Heli ski helicopter where attempts to revive him failed.

The males, all friends from Germany, were on their sixth run of the day when this occurred.  Weather conditions at the time were reported to be good.    All skiers are trained to properly use a beacon before heading out on the ski adventure. Assistance by the guide resulted in the quick recovery of the one person that was buried and survived.  The cause of death for the deceased is unknown at this time.

The friends skiing with the deceased assisted in notifying the next of kin in Germany.

The investigation is now led by the BC Coroners Services, media inquiries for further information are to be directed to the BC Coroners Services.

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