A police officer who was seriously injured in an avalanche that claimed his colleague’s life has sadly passed away, two weeks after the incident.
Mathieu Nolet, a member of the Nelson Police Department, and colleague Wade Tittemore were caught in an avalanche on January 9th while backcountry skiing near Kaslo, BC.
“A group of two had accessed the area using snowmobiles and were skiing during the accident. The start zone was described as a thin, rocky, windward slope. The avalanche failed on a weak layer of basal facets, which was buried in mid-November. One subject was buried 1.5 to 2 m deep. One subject died at the scene. The second was flown to hospital but passed away 12 days after the incident as a result of injuries sustained during the avalanche.”
Tittemore was killed at the scene, while Nolet was rushed to hospital with broken ribs and internal injuries.
“Flags are being lowered to half-mast here in the City of Nelson as we have lost our second officer that was involved in the avalanche. It has been truly devastating.”
– Nelson PD
A GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $82,000 for the families.
The avalanche danger rating for the region was at level three of five, which is considerable, according to Avalanche Canada.
Kaslo is between the Selkirk and Purcell mountain ranges, about an hour’s drive north of Nelson, BC.
The Nelson Police Board, the City of Nelson, and the Nelson Police Department offer their condolences and support to the families.
Forecasters are that British Columbia is expected to have a hazardous avalanche season, CTV reports.
“This year’s snowpack is different from most previous years.”
– Mike Conlan, avalanche forecaster for Avalanche Canada
Experts say the snowpack only gets this weak every 10 to 20 years, and this year is similar to 2003, one of the deadliest avalanche seasons on record.
The fatality is the third in Canada this winter and the ninth in North America.