The Chief of Patrol at Cerro Catedral, Argentina died today after being caught in an avalanche while conducting avalanche mitigation work.
Mario Ruiz and his team were carrying out pre-opening tasks this morning when the avalanche occurred in the northern sector of Catedral in an area named “Avalancha”. The ski area has seen large accumulations of snow in the last few days. An avalanche at La Hoya, Argentina over the weekend destroyed a quad chairlift.
According to local reports, the avalanche happened near the run known as Intermedia and slid down the zone known as Avalancha, closing the ABC North road. Two patrollers were caught and had to be rescued by their colleagues. One of them had injuries, but was conscious at the time of evacuation, while Mario Ruiz, Chief of Patrol, was quickly moved to San Carlos Sanatorium in a precarious state. Despite attempts by medical staff, he passed away at the Sanatorium.
CERRO CATEDRAL PRESS RELEASE:
“Catedral Alta Patagonia lamenta el fallecimiento del Jefe de Patrulla Mario Ruiz. Mario Ruiz, trabaja en Catedral desde hace más de 20 años. Durante los últimos 9 años fue el Jefe de Patrulla, tarea que desempeño con mucho compromiso y dedicación. Mario regresó en el mes de marzo de un intercambio con centros de esquí en Estados Unidos, fue un gran referente y maestro en lo que respecta a seguridad para todos los que forman parte de Catedral Alta Patagonia. Lamentamos profundamente su fallecimiento y acompañamos a su familia en este difícil momento.”– Cerro Catedral, July 27th, 2020
Catedral Alta Patagonia is sadden by the passing of chief of patrol Mario Ruiz.Mario worked at Catedral for 20 years.Mario was the chief of patrol for the past 9 years and he was very dedicated.Mario returned to Argentina in March after a patrol exchange working at ski resorts in the USA.Mario was a master with respect to the safety of everyone at Catedral.We are deeply saddened by his passing.– Cerro Catedral, July 27th, 2020
Mario Ruiz has been working in Catedral for over 20 years, the last nine as Patrol Chief. He spent northern winter in the US, working with ski resorts, and returned to Argentina in March when the pandemic struck. He was extremely experienced and a master in regards to safety for all who are part of Catedral Upper Patagonia.
Given the amount of snow that had fallen, the mountain was closed to the public and the Avalanches Unchainment Intervention Plan (PIDA) was being implemented. The ski resort will remain closed until the completion of the safety protocol.