Friends shocked after A.J. Cleary named victim of B.C. avalanche
People in the eastern Newfoundland town of Come By Chance are in shock after the mayor's son was killed in a weekend avalanche in British Columbia.
A.J. Cleary, 34, was snowmobiling on Saturday with a group of experienced riders when he was caught in an avalanche about 50 kilometres east of Vernon.
Childhood friend Carl Reid said Cleary always had a deep love for outdoor sports, but he didn't consider him an extreme risk taker.
Friend and fellow mountain biker Chris Jarrett said Cleary was always high energy, even when they first started riding together.
"When we started [riding] here in the early 1990s, A.J. was the leader. He was the guy who always wanted to be in the front," Jarrett said.
"What better way to see the outdoors, through hiking, snowmobiling, skiing and mountain biking. That's the life A.J. lived — you can't take that away from any one of us," Jarrett said.
Cleary, the son of Come By Chance Mayor Joan Cleary, was buried under about 15 feet of snow for two hours before rescuers were able to pull him out. Although he was revived, he died several hours later in hospital in Kelowna.
Cleary had been working in B.C. as a nurse.
He leaves behind a wife who is pregnant with the couple's first child.