Lions Bay Search and Rescue has confirmed a seven-year-old girl died after being buried by a rock slide in a popular hiking area in the mountains north of Vancouver.
Friends of the family, which is originally from South Africa, have confirmed the victim was Erin Kate Moore.
Lions Bay Mayor Karl Buhr confirmed the rock slide took place Monday on Unnecessary Mountain, along Lonetree Creek, about halfway up a 10-kilometre loop.
Search manager Martin Colwell said the girl and her mother were with a local hiking group, who had stopped to take photographs, when rocks came crashing down the creek bed.
"She was near the creek bed and was struck by large boulders and rocks...and buried by the debris," said Colwell.
"She was dragged down as the slope caved away and very large, five-foot-sized boulders surrounded her."
Colwell said she went in and out of consciousness, while family members freed her from the boulders and gave her CPR.
Nurses, doctors, paramedics unable to save her
Four nurses from the Lions Bay Fire & Rescue hiked for 40 minutes to reach the scene in an attempt to help save the girl.
Trauma doctors and paramedics were also flown in by helicopter by the Lions Bay and North Shore Rescue, but the girl died without gaining full consciousness.
"Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of everyone on scene, who did CPR on her and tried to remove her from the debris, she was pronounced dead by a doctor on scene."
Mayor Karl Buhr said the child’s father arrived as the rescue scene unfolded and the child’s older sibling, who was also on the hike, was cared for by the village the whole day.
Colwell said it was a difficult call to deal with for search and rescue teams, who have strong connections to the area.
"It's too terrible to really contemplate. The parents [are] in an awful situation and I lived here myself for eight years. We know a lot of the families and it's very hard on the whole village community."
Popular hiking area
The group, made up around 20 adults and children of all ages, hike the area every Monday morning.
Colwell said the trail they were on is new and usually in good condition, but heavy rains had made the creek beds loose. The trail would be reassessed, he said.
Buhr described the girl's death as a major tragedy and said he knew the family personally. He saw them on Sunday when Erin had been running around the village hall laughing after carolling.
"On behalf of the village, we've endured quite a tragedy. The village is going to need some time to process and recover from this."
"This is a young family. They're very much part of the village and we'd ask that people do their best to provide the support that they can."
No one else was hit in the rock slide.