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Some facts about snowmobiles and avalanches in British Columbia in recent years

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January 30, 2016 - 4:30 PM

MCBRIDE, B.C. - Five snowmobilers have been killed in an avalanche near McBride, B.C. Here are some facts about previous deaths, a study on the issue and one close call:

— On Jan. 26 this year, Angelo Carpino, 41, was killed in an avalanche near Prince George, B.C. He was among a group of five people who were riding their snowmobiles in the Torpy Trail area of the McGregor Mountain Range. Other members of his group were able to dig him out, but could not resuscitate him.

— Two men were also killed in the McBride area while snowmobiling last March. Curtis Fries, 36, of Sherwood Park, Alta., was dug out of the snow and his fellow riders tried to perform CPR on him but he died at the scene. Thomas Hamilton, 29, of Ponoka, Alta., was later found under 15 feet of snow.

— 2014 was a bad year for snowmobile-related avalanche deaths in British Columbia. Chris McCoy of Sylvan Lake, Alta., died near Revelstoke; Jay Quayle of Lloydminster, Sask., died near Blue River; A.J. Cleary of Coldstream, B.C., was killed near Keefer Lake; Kym Wilson of Warburg, Alta., died near Valemount; and a 29-year-old man from Crawford Bay, B.C., was killed in an avalanche on the east side of Kootenay Lake.

— The B.C. Coroner's Office released a report summarizing avalanche deaths in the province between Jan. 1, 1996, and March 17, 2014. During that time, there were a total of 192 avalanche-related deaths, for an average of 10 deaths a year. The average age of the victims was 35.9 years old, 90 per cent were male. The highest percentage of deaths, 41 per cent, came through snowmobiling, followed by skiing at 33 per cent, and heliskiing at 13 per cent. Most of those killed were from B.C. or Alberta.

— Last April, Curtis Johnson, 52, was buried in an avalanche near Blue Lake, between Sicamous and Revelstoke. The terrifying incident was caught on a helmet-mounted camera he was wearing. He survived.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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