8 Snowmobilers Missing in Canadian Avalanches

Associated Press - December 29, 2008 2:43 PM ET

FERNIE, British Columbia (AP) - Despite what's being described as "extreme" risk, rescuers are searching western Canada's backcountry for eight snowmobilers buried in avalanches.

Three other men from the group pulled themselves free yesterday and tried to claw through the snow for their companions. But the mayor of a nearby town says they had lost their gloves and with 1 of them injured, finally had to give up, fearing another slide.

About 550 miles east of Vancouver, British Columbia's Elk Valley has gotten more than 2 feet of fresh snow in recent days, and the risk of a new avalanche is considered high.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police says a search & rescue helicopter used explosives to shake down loose snow to make the area safer for searchers.

A government health official says the "chances of survival at this point, if they were buried, are not very good."

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