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2 dead in avalanche near Revelstoke, BC

The two men killed by an avalanche while heli-skiing near Revelstoke, British Columbia, on Monday have been identified as brothers and Pennsylvania business owners.

Timothy and Jonathan Kinsley were near Mount McCrae, in an area known as the Chocolate Bunnies, with a heli-skiing guide when the avalanche hit them and buried them in snow.

The three men were airlifted to Kelowna and rushed to hospital, but the Kinsleys could not be saved. Their guide, a CMH Heli-Ski employee, remained hospitalized Tuesday in stable condition.

Timothy Kinsley was president of Kinsley Properties, a Pennsylvania real estate developer, while his brother was an executive at Kinsley Enterprises, a management company that oversees their family’s business assets.

In a statement, the Kinsley family said they were “deeply heartbroken” by the news of the brothers’ deaths.

“We know that their presence as dedicated leaders within our organization and the community will be greatly missed by many,” the statement read. “We are grateful for your love, understanding and prayers as our entire Kinsley family deals with this loss.”

The avalanche left two of the heli-skiers completely buried and the third partially buried, according to CMH Heli-Skiing. The group had two-way radios that helped crews locate them following the slip.

The outdoor adventure company offered its condolences to the Kinsleys’ loved ones in a statement posted online Tuesday.

“The thousands of guests who ski with us every winter are our family,” he said. “It is impossible to put into words the grief we feel and the sadness shared by our guests, their families and all of our staff.”

British Columbia RCMP told CTV News that while there are no indications of criminality, authorities will fully investigate the circumstances surrounding the Kinsleys’ death.

“It will be a long and complex investigation, as is usually the case,” said Sgt. Chris Manseau. “We’ll be speaking with a lot of experts – those who know about avalanches and avalanche safety and aeronautics, and just a variety of different groups.”

He said CMH Heli-Skiing had already located and removed the three men by the time Revelstoke RCMP were notified of the avalanche.

The incident follows several other deadly avalanches recorded across the province in recent weeks, during a time of heightened danger in the backcountry due to a fragile snowpack.

On Saturday, a snowmobiler died after being hit by an avalanche near Valemont. Earlier this month, two off-duty Nelson Police Department officers were caught in a slide near the community of Kaslo.

One of them, Wade Tittemore, died at the scene. He was posthumously promoted from Constable to Detective.

The other officer, Const. Mathieu Nolet, was hospitalized for more than a week before succumbing to his injuries.

Forecasters have warned that British Columbia is probably experiencing its most dangerous avalanche season in decades, with a particularly unstable snowpack resulting from last year’s historic drought and record winter storms.

The area of ​​Monday’s landslide currently has a “considerable” risk rating from Avalanche Canada, with a note that “several layers of concern exist in the snowpack that produce large human-triggered avalanches.”

Constables remind the public that while backcountry adventures are popular in the province, everyone should do their research and assess the risks before heading out.

“When you’re in these small towns, you forget that three or four hours by car is still a long way from a major center, in case of an emergency,” said Manseau.

Up-to-date avalanche hazard information is available on the Avalanche Canada website.

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