1 person dead in weekend avalanche near B.C.-Alberta border

B.C. has recorded its second avalanche fatality of 2024, after a slide near the B.C.-Alberta border over the weekend.

It happened on Saturday, Feb. 24, in the Castle Wildland Provincial Park, southeast of Fernie.

Avalanche Canada says a group of snowmobilers triggered a slide at the top of Gardiner Creek. Two people were initially caught in the avalanche, however one of them was able to get out.

The second person was fully buried, Avalanche Canada says.

“Despite conducting a companion rescue search, the group was unable to locate the buried victim and rode out to call for help,” the agency explained in an update online.

It says the victim was found buried the next day by search and rescue crews.

“The size three avalanche measured approximately 200 metres wide and ran for approximately 250 metres. The crown depth was approximately 40 centimetres. The avalanche is believed to have failed on a layer of faceted crystals on a crust that was buried at the start of February,” Avalanche Canada said of the avalanche.

Initially, it was reported as many as four people were caught in the avalanche. However, Avalanche Canada said in an update it confirmed the number was two.

The fatality comes after a snowmobiler died in an avalanche southwest of Chetwynd late last month.

In that case, the rider was with two other snowmobilers when they were buried in a slide in the Hasler riding area on Jan. 27.

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