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Grief counsellors made available after five hikers die near Lions Bay

Last Updated Apr 10, 2017 at 6:46 am PDT

Lions Bay Search and Rescue team members get ready to search for five lost hikers whose bodies were later found. (Photo via Twitter: @LionsBaySAR)
Summary

Names of five hikers killed over the weekend have yet to be released

Group of hikers not prepared after stepping on snowy ledge on mountain north of Lions Bay

LIONS BAY (NEWS 1130) – Grief counsellors are being made available for the families of victims, search crews and the lone survivor of a tragedy in the mountains north of Lions Bay over the weekend.

An accident saw the death of five hikers on Mount Harvey on Saturday, however, we have yet to learn the names of those involved. That could change once the BC Coroners Service officially identifies the hikers and all their families have all been told.

In the meantime, counsellors have been brought in for the relatives and anyone else involved in the search effort which ended late Sunday with crews discovering the fifth and final body in an area about 500 metres down from where they fell from on Mount Harvey.

Search Manager Martin Colwell says the hikers seem to have made their way out onto a cornice. “It’s unsupported because it’s essentially a ledge of snow and we believe these five people stepped on to the cornice, it broke under their weight and fell down the north face.”

He adds the error is common. “People will wander over the firm edge, not being able to interpret where it is because they can’t see below very well and they just go too far over and that hinges, and cracks and breaks that cornice slab that then pours over.”

The group was experienced but not fully equipped for the risks and conditions. “For this kind of terrain, for that elevation at this time of year, you should have preferably taken a course in basic avalanche safety. You should be carrying an avalanche beacon and you should have a snow shovel.”

The hiking group was on an established trail up Mount Harvey while a sixth hiker who had fallen behind is the lone survivor.

Roughly 70 rescuers helped in the search and recovery effort.