Two people are dead after a "slab avalanche" occurred Sunday morning near Jasper, Alta, according to Parks Canada. Officials said the avalanche happened on Mount Andromeda in the Columbia Icefield, a mountain known as a popular climbing destination.
Emergency services received reports of the avalanche at around 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, and two people were found dead by the search and rescue teams that were dispatched.
"When we got there we found that there had been an avalanche. It came down from about 3,000 metres right down to the valley bottom on Mount Andromeda and unfortunately, two people passed away as a result of the avalanche," Steve Young, a communications officer with Jasper National Park told Global News.
No information was provided about the identities of the two people, but officials say it appears the pair was involved in some sort of recreational activity based on the gear that they had in the mountain area.
STARS Air Ambulance had sent three helicopters to the area as well, but they later "stood down" as they were "not medically required."
Emergency crews were sent to stage at the Columbia Icefields following reports of an avalanche at Mount Andromeda. Two were found dead by search and rescue teams. (Submitted by Parks Canada)
According to Young, the recent back and forth temperature swings can play a role in destabilizing the snow pack, as it warms during the day and cools significantly again at night.
"There’s still a lot of snow on the mountains for sure, even in the townsite let alone down on the icefields, which is at a higher elevation and obviously melts a lot slower. That usually can make things a little less stable than they normally would be," Young told Global News, adding that outdoor enthusiasts always need to be prepared no matter the time of year.
Despite reports of more people on the mountain earlier in the day, no other injuries were reported.
With files from The Canadian Press and Global News.