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Woman skier dies in Canadian outback, husband saved

A 51-year-old man was rescued from Canada's outback after 10 days in the frigid cold, police said Wednesday, but his wife died of exposure as rescue teams twice ignored their SOS SOS, code letters of the international distress signal. The signal is expressed in International Morse code as … — — — … (three dots, three dashes, three dots).  message carved out of snow.

"Police were called when a helicopter pilot spotted a man waving in an out-of-bounds area near Kicking Horse Kicking Horse, river of SE British Columbia, Canada, rising in the Rocky Mts., and flowing SW and NW to Golden, where it enters the Columbia River. Its course is rapid, with several high falls.  Mountain Resort," west of Banff National Park Banff National Park, 2,564 sq mi (6,641 sq km), W Alta., Canada, in the Rocky Mts.; est. 1885. Noted for its mountain scenery and mineral springs, Canada's oldest national park is a year-round resort area. Banff and Lake Louise are the chief centers.  on the British Columbia-Alberta border, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Royal Canadian Mounted Police, constabulary organized (1873) as the Northwest Mounted Police to bring law and order to the Canadian west. In 1920 the name was changed to the present title.  said in a statement.

Authorities subsequently arrived at the scene near Golden, British Columbia Golden is a town in central eastern British Columbia, Canada, located 262 kilometres (163 miles) west of Calgary, Alberta and 713 kilometres (443 miles) east of Vancouver. Much of the town's history is tied into the Canadian Pacific Railway and the logging industry. , to rescue the man, and then locate his deceased spouse. The 44-year-old woman is believed to have died of exposure.

Police said the Quebec couple may have gotten lost on February 15 while skiing along the Canadian Rocky Mountains Rocky Mountains, major mountain system of W North America and easternmost belt of the North American cordillera, extending more than 3,000 mi (4,800 km) from central N.Mex. to NW Alaska; Mt. Elbert (14,431 ft/4,399 m) in Colorado is the highest peak. .

During the following week, local search and rescue officials were twice notified of a possible missing person after heli-skiing pilots spotted an SOS symbol in the snow from the air.

Both reports however were dismissed after checks for unreturned rental skis at the ski resort, missing persons reports and cars left in the parking lot overnight came up empty.

The couple were eventually reported missing Monday to Montreal authorities after failing to return home from their ski holiday.

The man is being treated in hospital for injuries related to exposure. An autopsy into his wife's death is scheduled for Friday.
Copyright 2009 AFP American Edition
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Publication:AFP American Edition
Date:Feb 25, 2009
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