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Avalanche buries 3, leaves one dead in Pine Pass

Avalanche Canada is reporting a deadly avalanche in Northeast B.C. over the weekend.
(Avalanche Canada)

Avalanche Canada is reporting a deadly avalanche in Northeast B.C. over the weekend.

One person died when a slide swept up a group of snowmobilers south of Chetwynd Saturday. 

A party of four was snowmobiling in Sunshine Bowl in the Hasler riding area, near Pine Lemoray Provincial Park. One person triggered the size 3 avalanche, and three members of the party were hit by the slide.

Two people were partially buried and managed to dig themselves out. The third person was fully buried and did not survive. It's the first fatal slide of the season.

Avalanche Canada posts locations of significant avalanches reported through its Mountain Information Network on its website.

The avalanche danger is rated high to extreme in many parts of B.C. due to the string of atmospheric river events hitting the province.

“We’ve had a pretty wet, stormy fall starting right in October. It’s been snowing in the Alpine pretty steadily and the fluctuating temperatures and the big precipitation events and the wind associated with it has created a pretty significant snowpack higher up,” said Karl Klassen, Warning Service Manager, Avalanche Canada.

“It’s a big snowpack and right now it’s showing signs of pretty significant avalanche activity and it’s going to get worse before it gets better over the next few days.”

He’s advising people to stay out of the mountain unless they have enough training and experience to recognize avalanche terrain. “If you have training and could probably find safe spots, but I would suggest staying out of avalanche terrain completely until this next storm passes and we’ve had a few days to see what happens afterwards.”

He adds anyone going out into the backcountry should be carrying a probe, transceiver and shovel. You should also check the latest forecasts on Avalanche Canada and have a plan before setting out.

Klassen said atmospheric river events are not that unusual, but to have them stacked up one after the other, and the magnitude of the first event, is noteworthy.

“That was an amazingly strong event that is, I think everyone recognizes now, unprecedented.”

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