A coroner arrives at the site where the body of snowmobiler Mike Buckles was brought by a recovery team.

Searchers have recovered the body of a B.C. man who died in an avalanche while snowmobiling near the Coquihalla Highway on Tuesday.

He has been identified as Michael Buckles, 43, of Maple Ridge, B.C.

RCMP and search teams from Hope and Chilliwack Search and Rescue — who were hampered by snowy weather Tuesday — made the recovery near the Coquihalla Summit Recreation Area, about 170 kilometres east of Vancouver.

"The RCMP victim assistance workers are currently providing support to the affected family," said Cpl. Dan Moskaluk, senior media relations officer in Penticton.

"The deceased was with his father, along with another extended family member amongst the group who were all from the Lower Mainland area of B.C.," he said.

The slide occurred around noon, northwest of Tulameen, as the group of 12 sledders was travelling along a network of trails around Coquihalla Lakes, according to police.

The avalanche came down between the group, sweeping the man down the mountainside. No other individuals suffered physical injuries.

While 10 members of the group immediately started searching for the buried man, one headed to the old Coquihalla toll-booth area to get into cellphone coverage to call for help.

The snowmobilers quickly located the man's partly buried snowmobile, with the group using a beacon locator. But it took 15 minutes to dig out the victim and attempts to revive him with CPR failed.
Group properly equipped

RCMP and local volunteer search teams soon arrived at the old toll-booth location, but after a fly-over by an avalanche technician it was initially deemed too unsafe to recover the man's body.

The avalanche risk for the area was rated considerable at the time of the slide.

All members of the group were properly equipped with rescue recovery gear and were wearing GPS locator beacons, said police.

The death is the third fatal snowmobile accident in B.C. this week. In one accident in Elko, west of Fernie, an unidentified 44-year-old man was killed when his sled went off an embankment and struck a BMX ramp on Monday.

In the second accident near Prince George on Sunday, another 44-year-old man was killed after running head-on into another snowmobile in the dark, while the pair were out sledding on a lake.