British Columbia

B.C. avalanche victim from Alberta

A snowmobiler killed in an avalanche in the B.C. backcountry on Friday was a father of four from Alberta, CBC News has learned.
A 35-year-old Red Deer, Alta., man riding a snowmobile died when he and six others were hit by an avalanche southeast of Sparwood, B.C., on Friday. (Robert Schreiner)

A snowmobiler killed in an avalanche in the B.C. backcountry on Friday was a father of four from Alberta, CBC News has learned.

The Red Deer man, 35, who has not been officially identified, was snowmobiling with six others near Corbin, B.C., about 30 kilometres southeast of Sparwood, when the slide hit.

While the victim's six friends escaped with their lives, two were later hospitalized with injuries suffered in the slide. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

Initially, B.C. rescue services said the injured pair were rescued on Saturday morning, but the information was later corrected.

It has now been confirmed that the rescue that took place on Saturday was for a person injured Friday in a separate avalanche near Fernie, about 30 kilometres southwest of Sparwood.

B.C. Ambulance Service spokesman Ben Mittelsteadt confirmed the injured person was airlifted to hospital in Fernie on Saturday morning for an assessment and is now in stable condition in a hospital in Cranbrook.

Dangerous weather conditions prevented an overnight rescue, Mittelsteadt said.

He said the injured person was transported  No other details were available.

Avalanche warning

The snowslides hit the same day the Canadian Avalanche Centre issued a warning to recreational backcountry users that conditions are ripe for triggering avalanches because of weak layers in the snowpack. People have been advised to stay out of the backcountry until the warning is lifted. Those who insist on heading out should be properly equipped.

"Local knowledge and a high degree of training and experience is required to travel safely in avalanche terrain this weekend," the centre said in a statement. "Everyone in a backcountry party needs to be equipped with a shovel, probe and transceiver."

The centre said slopes that would normally be considered safe are now more prone to avalanches, including areas below the tree line.

Friday's snowslides marked the second time in a week that people in the province have been killed or injured in an avalanche. On Tuesday, a 44-year-old Squamish man died when he was caught in an avalanche south of Whistler.


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