A Snow Slide hit a popular hiking trail on Mount Harvey near Vancouver in Canada on Saturday, sweeping five hikers from the local Korean community to their death. The snow slide was caused by the collapse of a cornice – a snowy overhang, created by high winds - on the peak of the mountain. On Saturday, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) reported that the bodies of four hikers who had gone missing had been found, but later that day a fifth victim was discovered.

Sixth hiker could not find his fellow hikers

RCMP had received a distress call from a sixth hiker, who had noticed footprints heading up to the summit but found no one there, causing him to be concerned for his fellow hikers’ safety.

According to Martin Colwell of the Lions Bay Search And Rescue, that hiker was a member a group that had lost their lives but had reportedly fallen behind them on the trail.

Colwell said the trail in question is steep and had been made more dangerous by the winter conditions. Colwell added that the search and rescue operation was made even more difficult by the fact the snowpack was so hard. He also said they believe the Korean hikers had stepped onto the cornice and it broke, sheering off of Mount Harvey. The hikers then fell down to the base of the mountain. Colwell said that a cornice is difficult to spot, as it looks like a normal sweep of snow, but it can collapse and break away should you step on it.

Other rescue teams joined the search for the missing hikers

As reported by the Welland Tribune, the search for the missing Korean hikers was joined by rescue teams from the North Shore, Squamish, and Lions Bay and involved around 40 volunteers, along with two helicopters and search dogs. Reuters quotes one rescue team member as saying the hiking group could have fallen 1,640 feet after the cornice collapsed.

Colwell said the rescue team had seen personal effects and snowshoes lying around at the foot of the mountain but could not get to that location before nightfall.

All five victims were members of two Korean hiking clubs

Initially, authorities would not identify the victims until the family members had been notified.

However, the two Korean hiking clubs have since named the members who lost their lives as Chung Ki Soo, Myung Sung Soo and Yon Jun Sohn of the MJM Hiking Club and Sandul Baram and Kim Ran Hee of the Vancouver Hiking Club.

The Welland Tribune reports there are, on average, around 14 avalanche-related deaths each year in Canada, mostly in western Alberta and British Columbia. They mentioned an incident back in January 2016 involving snowmobilers, where five men died in McBride, B.C. after a major avalanche.

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