British Columbia

1 man dead after avalanche in backcountry near Merritt

Police say one person has died following an avalanche near Merritt, B.C. triggered while the victim was snowmobiling in the area.

Initial reports from the scene suggest one person was trying to find a second person trapped by slide

Avalanche Canada has warned about avalanche danger in many parts of British Columbia from late December 2019 into 2020. (CBC)

One man has died following an avalanche near Merritt, B.C., police say

Just before 1 p.m. on Saturday, RCMP in Merritt received a report of an avalanche near Cabin Lake and Prospect Creek. The area is about 56 kilometres southwest of Merritt.

According to police, one person was attempting to find another man who was trapped by the slide. In a statement, RCMP say both men were snowmobiling in the backcountry when the avalanche occurred.

RCMP say search and rescue personnel reached the avalanche site near Cabin Lake and Prospect Creek by air Saturday afternoon. Hope Volunteer Search and Rescue said on its Facebook page that it assisted in the search.

Despite rescue efforts, police say that the man caught in the slide died.

"The victim was located by searchers, but sadly he did not survive," said B.C. RCMP spokesman Cpl. Jesse O'Donaghey in a statement.


O'Donaghey said the BC Coroners Service has been notified and is investigating the man's death. His identity will not be released.

Caution urged in backcountry

The RCMP says it encourages people to monitor Avalanche Canada for conditions and use extra caution travelling in the backcountry.

Avalanche Canada, a not-for-profit organization that issues daily avalanche forecasts in the winter, maintained high danger ratings for several areas in the province at alpine and treeline elevations.

A high danger rating indicates very dangerous avalanche conditions and travel in the terrain is not recommended, according to the not-for-profit organization's website. Natural avalanches are likely and human-triggered ones are very likely.

Cabin Lake is located in the South Coast Inland area where Avalanche Canada forecast a high danger rating for alpine, treeline and below treeline elevations.

With files from Canadian Press


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