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Sledder dies in fall on Pemberton Ice Cap

Ontario man was reportedly sledding with friends when he fell down crevasse

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An Ontario man is dead after falling into a crevasse on the Pemberton Ice Cap on the Family Day holiday, confirmed police.

At about 1:20 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 18, Pemberton RCMP was notified by an emergency beacon that was activated on the Pemberton Ice Cap. It is believed that the 32-year-old visitor was sledding with friends when his snowmobile dropped into a crevasse and he was ejected from the sled, police said.

Friends on the scene administered first aid until search-and-rescue crews arrived and continued the life-saving efforts. The man was then transported via helicopter to the Whistler Health Care Centre.

“Despite the best efforts of everyone involved, the male did not survive his injuries,” police said in a release.

In a follow-up call, Whistler RCMP Staff Sgt. Paul Hayes said he was told the victim was an intermediate-level sledder.

The investigation has been turned over to the BC Coroners Service.

Snowmobiling remains the No. 1 cause for emergency response by Whistler Search and Rescue (WSAR), and was the “single largest contributor to trauma by activity,” according to WSAR’s most recent Manager’s Report. Covering March 7, 2017 to March 4, 2018, WSAR responded to 11 snowmobile-related callouts in that time, including one fatality, compared to 10 for ski-mountaineering, eight for out-of-bounds skiing, eight for hiking and seven for mountain biking.

The sport’s growing popularity is likely a contributing factor to the rise in callouts. The Powder Mountain Snowmobile Club recorded roughly 1,400 snowmobile trips into the Brandywine area alone over the 2017-18 winter season.