At least five people were killed when a massive and apparently human-caused avalanche hit a group of snowmobilers in BC on Friday. At least one other person was hospitalized after the avalanche near the town of McBride at around 1:30pm. A spokesman for the Avalanche Canada warning group tells CNN that the "very large, significant avalanche event" on Mount Renshaw appears to have been triggered by human activity. The RCMP says at least three groups of snowmobilers were in the area when disaster struck and search-and-rescue technicians who had been snowmobiling made it to the area to start the search almost immediately, the Vancouver Sun reports.
The RCMP says it is still trying to make sure everybody who was in the area has been accounted for, and up to eight people who lost snowmobiles in the avalanche have been taken off the mountain. People in the small southeastern BC community say the disaster happened during a busy week for snowmobilers. "We are a small and mostly tight-knit community," McBride town councilor Sharon Reichert tells the CBC. "We live in a rugged country where many in the community enjoy the outdoors. That comes with danger, and today, our worst fears have been realized." (After an avalanche in Alaska last year, three snowmobilers rescued a buried moose.)