A 2-meter-deep (6.6-foot-deep) avalanche killed a snowmobiler near Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia, Canada on February 22nd, 2015. Three snowmobilers in a group of seven were caught in the avalanche. Two of the three were rescued by the group but the third succumbed to his injuries and died on site.
This is only the 4th avalanche death in Canada this winter. The USA has only had 5 this year.
Canada averages about 14 avalanche deaths per year. The USA averages about 35 avalanche deaths per year.
Full Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Report:
Tumbler Ridge RCMP can confirm one man has perished after an avalanche near Core Lodge Road.
On February 22nd 2015 at 2:46 p.m. Tumbler Ridge RCMP received a called from North Peace Operations and Communication Center advising there had been an avalanche that had trapped three of seven snowmobiles that had departed from Core Lodge.
The Provincial Emergency Program (PEP) was notified and resources were put together to conduct a search. PEP was able to obtain a Level two Avalanche Technician in the area to inspect it before rescue operations could begin.
The level II Technician and an RCMP officer arrived back at the unloading area with 6 of the seven snowmobilers.
The individuals in the snowmobile party advised that they were able to rescue two out of the three that had been caught in the avalanche. Unfortunately to the very best efforts to revive the third individual, he had succumbed to his injuries and they were not able to move him at that time.
Expert information received was that a night recovery was not possible due to extreme and imminent danger of a secondary avalanche and the only way to recover the deceased was via helicopter.
Due to diminishing day light a coordinated search was going to be held off until the next day.
On Monday February 23rd 2015 North Peace Search and Rescue attended the given GPS co-ordinates via helicopter and were able to recover the deceased without further incident.
The name of the deceased is not being released at this time.
Tumbler Ridge RCMP is continuing to work in partnership with the BC Coroners Service.
The Tumbler Ridge RCMP would like to praise the friends of the deceased for their heroic attempts to resuscitate him by provided emergency medical assistance after the avalanche.
The Tumbler Ridge RCMP would like to strongly encourage outdoor enthusiasts traversing the back country to educate themselves on terrain conditions and essential equipment. For further information please visit the following websites:
Avalanche Canada: www.avalanche.ca
AdventureSmart program: www.adventuresmart.ca
Association of British Columbia Snowmobile Club: www.abcsnow.ca
BC Snowmobile Federation: www.bcsf.org
Prepared by: Cst. Andrew McElwain