ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A 34-year old heli-skiing guide has died in a backcountry accident on a mountain near Haines.
Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said Monday that Christian Arcadio Cabanilla was killed Sunday.
He was a guide for Southeast Alaska Backcountry Adventures, based in Haines, Peters said.
Cabanilla and two clients were traversing an area when snow gave way underneath them, and they fell down the mountain, Peters said.
The other two skiers suffered injuries that were not considered life-threatening. Both were taken to a Juneau hospital. One of them was sent on to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, the company said Monday.
Cabanilla was found unconscious and was taken to a Haines clinic, where he was pronounced dead.
Troopers were notified at about 1:13 p.m. Sunday.
"While the incident is under investigation, preliminarily it appears to have been caused by a massive cornice failure," Nicholas Trimble of Southeast Alaska Backcountry Adventures said in a statement. A cornice is an overhanging edge of snow on a ridge or the crest of a mountain.
The company "extends its deepest support to the injured skiers, and sympathy and support to the family and friends of the deceased skier," Trimble added.
KHNS-FM in Haines, citing company President Scott Sundberg as a source, reported that Cabanilla was skiing recreationally on a tour with five people total and was not acting as lead guide.
Sundberg told the radio station the group was skiing near Kicking Horse Valley, west of Haines, and that the death and injuries were not caused by an avalanche.
Biographical information listed on the company website said Cabanilla was an international backcountry snowboard guide with more than a decade of experience in the heli-ski industry in Alaska. He had also worked in the Chilean Patagonia and Antarctica, according to the website.
He had received advanced avalanche training in forecasting and responding to avalanches and had training in crevasse rescue and wilderness first response, the website said.
Cabanilla was a commercial helicopter pilot who had flown glacier sightseeing tours, heli-skiing trips, firefighting missions and mineral exploration flights, according to the website.