Page last updated at 23:27 GMT, Sunday, 14 March 2010

Deadly avalanche hits Canada snowmobile mountain rally


Rescuers at the scene of the avalanche

An avalanche has struck a snowmobile gathering in western Canada, killing at least two people.

About 200 snowmobilers were taking part in the event on Boulder Mountain near Revelstoke, British Columbia, when the avalanche hit on Saturday.

Officials say people may still be trapped. Rescue teams with helicopters and search dogs are combing the area. At least 30 people were injured.

Revelstoke's mayor said the rally had not been an authorised event.

"The Canadian Avalanche Centre (CAC) based in Revelstoke has had a warning for the last three weeks expressing extreme caution in the backcountry," Mayor David Raven told CTV News.

Rescuers sent helicopters to Boulder Mountain at daybreak on Sunday to determine if conditions were safe for a full-scale ground search.

Police also conducted a door-to-door search of hotel rooms to determine how many people were missing from the so-called Big Iron Shoot Out, an annual extreme snowmobiling event.

A spokesman for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said on Sunday that two people were confirmed dead in the avalanche, corrected an earlier report that three had died.

According to the avalanche centre, there have been 10 avalanches in the area since Friday, when the CAC issued an extreme warning for the area.

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