Special warning issued by coroner, Avalanche Canada, prior to B.C.'s Family Day

FILE PHOTO - A helicopter flies past a mountain near McBride, B.C., on Saturday January 30, 2016. Five snowmobilers died Friday, Jan. 29, 2016 in a major avalanche in the Renshaw area east of McBride.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER - Avalanche Canada and the B.C. Coroners Service have joined forced in hopes of saving lives over British Columbia's upcoming Family Day weekend.

The two organizations have issued a special warning urging backcountry enthusiasts to know the conditions and use extreme caution as they head out.

Avalanche Canada executive director Gilles Valade says conditions are still being assessed, but there's no question a change in weather is on the way, and that could lead to an unstable snowpack.

He notes conditions have been consistant, and fairly safe, for several weeks, possibly creating a false sense of security on backcountry trails.

Coroner Barb McLintock says three of the five snowmobilers who died last week in McBride, B.C., were using avalanche airbags, but even that level of preparation could not save them from the huge slide.

Until last week's tragedy, Valade says only one person been killed in an avalanche during the 2015/2016 season.

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