UPDATE: Snowmobiler dies in tree well near Fernie

Image Credit: FACEBOOK / Fernie Search and Rescue / Jack Brauer

A 47-year-old man died after being trapped in a tree well near Morrissey, southeast of Fernie late last week.

Fernie Search and Rescue technicians were activated by RCMP on Friday, Jan. 31, about a missing sledder, according to the rescue team in a Facebook statement.

According to an RCMP news release, a father and son from Manitoba were snowmobiling in this backcountry area and they became separated for a brief period of time. 

"The son turned around to locate his father and found him upside down in a ‘tree well’ in the snow," RCMP said in the release.

The BC Coroners Service is investigating the death. The man's identity will not be released.

The recent deaths of two other people in British Columbia after falling into tree wells has highlighted one of the dangers inherent in this year’s heavy snowfall in the Interior.

RCMP said on Jan. 20 a snowboarder was pronounced dead after he was found in a tree well near the Whitewater Ski Resort near Nelson on Jan.17. Four hours later another man was found unresponsive in some trees at the Fernie Alpine Resort. Last year, five people across western North America died after falling into tree wells in Canada and the U.S.

From a shortage of snow at several local ski resorts before Christmas, to local snowpacks running 120 per cent of normal, there is lots of snow at the Southern Interior’s ski hills.

— This story was updated at 5:02 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3, 2020, to include information from RCMP.


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