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Families of missing B.C. mountaineers flown over Garibaldi Park

A break in weather has allowed the search by air to continue.

Update: 4:45 p.m.

One helicopter will continue searching for the group of missing mountaineers over Garibaldi Provincial Park until late on Wednesday.

ӣƵSAR manager B.J. Chute says the aircraft were not able to get close to Atwell Peak and were only able to get to lower elevations.

Temperatures are expected to be warmer at the peak, which would create dangerous avalanche conditions for search members on the ground.

The search for the three missing mountaineers will continue on Thursday.

Update: 3:35 p.m.

Search and rescue crews looking for three missing mountaineers plan to search via helicopter up until around 8:30 p.m. tonight.

ӣƵSAR manager B.J. Chute says the weather continues to hinder search efforts and “very little” was seen from the air Wednesday afternoon. 

He tells Glacier Media they were able to get one helicopter in the search area Wednesday afternoon, around the base of Atwell Peak in Garibaldi Provincial Park; however, dense cloud meant “we’ve had to pull that machine back.”

“We’re in the process right now of sending a second machine up,” he says, noting it’s one that has “Recco-detection” technology. If someone has the technology in their clothing, the helicopter would potentially pick it up.

Chute says conditions are still too dangerous to send in SAR members by foot. “It’s wet. It’s windy.”

“Currently, from our avalanche forecasters that were up and up in the air, we weren't able to get high enough to clear the avalanche risk to send in ground personnel.”

Chute strongly believes the three mountaineers, all thought to be experienced in their technical skills, are “still higher up.” 

“The search will continue until we have a reason to stand it down,” says. “We’re working with the family, working with the RCMP and we’ll continue searching until we find these people.”

Chute says it’s a “hurry up and wait scenario.”

“Once the weather does clear, becomes cooperative, we’ll be in the air as soon as we can.”

The group went missing last Friday after failing to return from Atwell Peak.

Police have not released the identities of the three mountaineers. The families of the missing are in ӣƵand are asking for privacy. They have been flown over the search area in a helicopter.

Update: 12:50 p.m.

The search for three missing mountaineers in Garibaldi Provincial Park continues by air on Wednesday.

One helicopter has successfully taken off, Glacier Media has confirmed, and is "inbounds." 

The families of the missing individuals have asked for their space to be respected. 

RCMP are not releasing the identity of the individuals, who have been missing for five days.

Original: 10:12 a.m.

The search for three missing people who went mountaineering in Garibaldi Provincial Park continues on Wednesday with three aircraft hoping to get above the search area. 

A low cloud ceiling and high avalanche risk grounded the search for three days.  

ӣƵSearch and Rescue tried to search by air, drone and on foot with local mountain guides, but could not access the area as it was deemed too unsafe. 

The three individuals, who RCMP are not identifying, set out to climb Atwell Peak on Friday, May 31. The climb is one of the steeper and more inaccessible peaks in Garibaldi Provincial Park. 

A family member contacted police after the group did not return on Friday. Their last known location is believed to be Atwell Peak.

Search and rescue members are busy Wednesday morning preparing for the search to resume in the afternoon.

The ӣƵ has confirmed there will be a Whistler Blackcomb helicopter, an RCMP helicopter and the North Shore Rescue RECCO helicopter.

Weather will still dictate Wednesday's search but SAR manager B.J. Chute is "hopeful" Mother Nature will cooperate and they will be able to take off. 

"The specific timing of the search and rescue operation is dependent on a prolonged clearing trend," says ӣƵSearch and Rescue spokesperson Christy Allan.

RCMP and SAR are asking people to stay out of Garibaldi Mountain and Atwell Peak so search and rescue operations are not hindered. 

Wednesday marks day five of the search to locate the three mountaineers. 

This story will be updated throughout the day as more information becomes available. 


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