Rescue crews unable to reach skier trapped in crevasse

Search and rescue crews are on standby—waiting for the weather to clear—so they can try to rescue a man who disappeared down a crevasse on the Wapta Glacier, near Lake Louise.

Teams hoping to return to site near Lake Louise on Monday if weather cooperates

A skier disappeared down a crevasse on the Wapta Glacier, near Lake Louise. 1:44

Search and rescue crews hope to return at dawn Monday to the spot near Lake Louise, Alta, where a man disappeared down a crevasse on the Wapta Icefield earlier this week.

A group of three skiers from British Columbia, two men and one woman, were skiing Wednesday on the Wapta Traverse, in the Wapituk range of the Rockies. The team was skiing at an elevation of about 2,600 metres when one of the men fell.

The skiers immediately activated a search and rescue beacon, which sent out a distress signal and alerted rescue crews. However, because of blizzard conditions and high avalanche risks, Parks Canada says rescuers didn't rescue those skiers until Friday, and the man who fell still hasn't been found.

Parks Canada spokesperson Omar McDadi said in an email that crews landed a helicopter near the crevasse on Sunday, "but crews were not able to get to the mouth of the opening."

He said light was the main issue and the sun was setting by the time search and rescuers touched down.

The missing skier was also wearing an emergency beacon when he fell and at one point it was transmitting a signal showing it was 35 metres below the surface of the glacier. McDadi said there is no way of knowing if the beacon is still attached to the skier.

Crews are hoping if the weather is good that they will be able to head to the site again at dawn on Monday.

"Because it's so high, and the weather in the mountains is so unpredictable, we're watching the general weather trends but we need enough time to be able to get down into the crevasse in order to assess the situation," said Steve Holeczi, a visitor safety specialist with Parks Canada. "So we need good weather in order to get up there and also to get our team out of there safely."