LIONS BAY, B.C. – Officials in British Columbia are working to officially identify the five people who died while hiking in the mountains north of Vancouver over the weekend.
The bodies of the hikers were recovered Sunday from the scene of an avalanche that officials believe was triggered when they walked on an unstable ledge of snow on Mount Harvey.
Officials say it appears the snow ledge, or cornice, collapsed under the hikers Saturday afternoon, sending them plunging 500 metres down the mountainside.
Family members of the victims gathered near the search headquarters Sunday to hear the sad news of their loved ones.
Grief counsellors were there to help and will also be made available to the dozens of people who were involved in the search.
Search and rescue officials say the five were from B-C’s Lower Mainland and were part of a regular hiking group.
Some of them may have had some winter hiking equipment such as shovels, but they didn’t have full avalanche gear such as beacons and probes.