Several West Kootenay search and rescue teams and the RCMP have located a missing skier near the Whitewater ski hill this morning after more than two days of searching. Edward Perello, 47, of Ymir is currently being extracted from the location and taken to a waiting ambulance . His medical condition is unknown, but search teams indicated that he appears to be doing well.
An individual who believes they spoke to Perello at the ski hill, later contacted the Nelson RCMP and provided a potential direction of travel of the missing skier.
In a written statement from the RCMP, they thanked the public for their assistance. “If it were not for information provided by an individual who spoke to Mr. Perello and provided us with a direction of travel, he may not have been located in time or at all. We are very pleased with the outcome for Mr. Perello and his family. Once again, another fantastic effort put forth by SAR and all individuals who contributed to his safe return.”
Perello went skiing alone at approximately 8 a.m. on Monday and did not return home. He was reported missing late Tuesday afternoon.
Twenty-seven people conducted a ground search of the area on Tuesday until midnight and 22 people started searching again at 7 a.m. Wednesday morning. A helicopter was onsite for one hour searching for the man in areas that Nelson Search and Rescue cannot reach. Search manager Chris Armstrong said Perello was believed to be wearing all grey and described the conditions as “terrible”.
“The day [Perello] disappeared there were 15 centimetres of powder but that night there was an immense amount of rain which turned the snow isothermic which makes for adverse conditions,” said Armstrong.
Search and rescue personal involved with the search were from Nelson, South Columbia, Rossland and Kaslo.
Armstrong had put in a request for more assistance from all southeast search and rescue personnel on Wednesday for a Thursday arrival.
Prior to that he said, “We have lots of volunteers diligently looking.”
RCMP Sgt. Leanne Tuchscherer said Perello is experienced in the outdoors but the weather conditions have been wet.
Perello was gone for three nights and while it has been mild, it has been raining a lot.
Whitewater Ski Resort manager Kirk Jensen and four staff from the snow safety program were also assisting NSAR and the RCMP with the search and offered up the resort day lodge for the search team.Jensen said the search focus [on Monday and Tuesday] was from the top of the Summit chair and the basin front as Perello’s vehicle was parked at the access point to that area. He said the missing man has been a pass holder for the last two years and is thought to be an advanced skier.
“We know he had a backpack with food and water,” Jensen said. “Perello has touring gear but the searchers are not sure if he was using that or if he was using snowshoes which means he would have been carrying his skis.” By Wednesday morning of the people they had spoken with who were skiing on Monday and Tuesday, no one had seen anyone skiing solo.
A different portion from the search area of the Whitewater Ski Resort was open last Friday through Sunday but is closed mid-week with early season conditions. Whitewater had asked the public not to enter the ski area boundary until the search had been resolved.