4 hikers die in Canada after avalanche hits popular trail

TORONTO, April 9 (Reuters) - Canadian police have recovered the bodies of four hikers who went missing on Saturday when an avalanche hit a popular trail north of Vancouver and were still searching for one missing person, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said in a statement on Sunday.

RCMP received a distress call on Saturday from one hiker after a cornice collapsed on the peak of Mount Harvey, which is situated 33 kilometers (20.5 miles) north of Vancouver, in the Lions Bay area. The hiker spotted footprints leading to the summit and was concerned for the safety anyone who was in the area, RCMP said.

A cornice is an overhanging mass of ice created by high winds.

CBC News, citing one rescue team member, said the group may have fallen as much as 500 meters (1,640 feet) when the cornice collapsed.

Canada suffered one of its deadliest avalanches on New Year's Day of 1999, when nine people were killed in Kangiqsualujjuaq, an Inuit village in Northern Quebec, according to the Calgary Herald. (Reporting by Denny Thomas; Editing by Sandra Maler)