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Canada, Montana Avalanches Kill 10

January 5, 1998

KASLO, British Columbia (AP) _ Avalanches killed at least 10 people in southeastern British Columbia and western Montana, while a powerful snowstorm hampered the search for a skier still missing Sunday.

An extreme avalanche warning was in effect for parts of southeastern British Columbia, where a blizzard raged with winds of 50 mph.

``We have a real disaster on our hands,″ said Alan Dennis, managing director of the Canadian Avalanche Centre.

Of the victims, eight were killed in British Columbia. Separate avalanches in Montana on Saturday killed two Americans _ an experienced climber and an avid snowmobiler.

Rescue teams were waiting for the storm to subside before removing the bodies of five skiers found Saturday in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park, 40 miles northeast of Nelson, B.C., the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said.

The stormy weather was also preventing rescuers from searching for one skier in the party still listed as missing.

The six friends were reported missing after an avalanche about a half-mile from their mountain cabin Friday. They had been advised of the avalanche conditions, police said.

Police Constable Jay Arnold said teams may have to first go into the area to trigger avalanches, to make it safe to recover the bodies and continue the search.

``Our priority remains for the persons going in there,″ said Rod Salem of the Provincial Emergency Program. ``We’ll try to go in, but I can’t say for sure we will.″

In New Denver, about 30 miles northwest of Kaslo, searchers recovered the bodies of two Canadian skiers killed in an avalanche on Mount Alwyn on Friday. Police had earlier identified them as snowmobilers.

Their six companions immediately dug them out, but the men were dead, said Constable Wally Beatty of New Denver RCMP. They were all experienced back-country skiers.

A Canadian snowmobiler was killed by an avalanche Friday at Elliott Lake, where the British Columbia, Alberta and U.S. borders converge.

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