Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Mother of Missing Search and Rescue Worker Understands Delay for Search

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Mother of Missing Search and Rescue Worker Understands Delay for Search

Article excerpt

Weather keeps searchers from locating climber


LAKE LOUISE, Alta. - The mother of a search and rescue technician who went missing when an avalanche apparently swept him off a ledge says she understands why the search is taking so long.

Liz Quinn says the search area in Banff National Park is still under threat from more avalanches and must be secured before ground teams can try to find her son, Sgt. Mark Anthony Salesse.

The Canadian Armed Forces says in a news release that snowfall around the ice-climbing route known as Polar Circus has been "unrelenting" since the accident late Thursday afternoon.

The release says Parks Canada is using dog teams and air support to try to find Salesse, but that the snow and avalanche hazard continues to hamper the search.

Quinn says military officials have told her that searchers will need to trigger more avalanches to make the area safe for ground crews to enter.

She says that means more snow and debris will land on the area where it's believed her son landed.

"They cannot risk the lives of any other search and rescue personnel and I can't blame them," Quinn said on Saturday afternoon from her home in Moncton, N.B.

"Those people -- those search and rescue -- all have families, they have parents, they have wives. So we are prepared to receive the worst.

"If anyone can survive this Mark can, but the elements are against him."

Park Canada said in a news release Saturday that it was waiting for the weather to improve before it could begin "explosive control."

"At this point we believe the chances of survival to be minimal and have therefore moved into a recovery operation," said Tania Peters, a Parks Canada spokeswoman, in an email.

Salesse, 44, was training at the time of the avalanche with other search and rescue personnel, according to the military.

Quinn said the military told her that her son was climbing up the ice wall when the weather, which was supposed to be good, suddenly worsened. …

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