5 hikers found dead in Canadian mountains after fall

Hikers crossing an unstable ledge of snow in the mountains north of Vancouver in Canada have fallen 500 metres to their deaths with five bodies now recovered.

Martin Cowell, a search manager with Lions Bay Search and Rescue, said the hiker who made the call was a sixth member of the same party who had fallen behind the rest of the group.

Authorities believe the group fell almost 500 metres to its death after stepping on a cornice near the peak of the mountain. Family members of the hikers gathered at a school in Lions Bay near the trail where the walkers went missing, the Vancouver Sun newspaper said.

Alastair Ferries says he had just passed a man on Saturday who mentioned his five friends were ahead of him on Mount Harvey, about 35 kilometres north of Vancouver.

He said the coroner still needed to officially identify the victims and an announcement wasn't expected until at least Monday.

A cornice is an overhanging mass of ice created by high winds.

Dozens of search and rescue workers from organizations across the Lower Mainland spent Sunday morning scouring the mountain, including avalanche dogs and helicopter crews, CBC News reported.

The hikers were believed to have been part of two local hiking groups: the Vancouver Korean Hiking Club and the MJM Hiking Club.

The bodies of four of the five hikers were found early in the day Sunday, while the body of the fifth victim was not recovered until the late afternoon.

  • Jon Douglas