An outline of the avalanche that killed five snowmobilers in the Renshaw area near McBride. A preliminary report says the avalanche was a size three

Avalanche education encouraged

BC Coroners Service and Avalanche Canada stress need for preparedness for those heading into the backcountry.

  • Feb. 10, 2016 8:00 p.m.

In the wake of the deaths of five persons in an avalanche near McBride on Jan. 29, the BC Coroners Service and Avalanche Canada are joining to stress the need for preparedness for those heading into the backcountry this winter.

A total of 17 snowmobilers were in the Mount Renshaw Alpine Recreation Site when the avalanche hit. First responders, the Coroners Service and Avalanche Canada all note that the majority of groups had proper rescue equipment with them, and the impressive effort made by those on scene to rescue themselves and others undoubtedly prevented the loss of more lives.

However, notes Gilles Valade, executive director of Avalanche Canada, even better than knowing how to respond to an avalanche incident is knowing how to prevent one from occurring in the first place.

“Avalanche safety education is essential for all winter backcountry recreationists,” said Valade. “Basic skills, such as recognizing avalanche terrain and not exposing multiple people to overhead hazard, make a big difference in reducing the consequences of an event.”

Equipment alone is not enough, noted Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe. Three of the five fatalities from the Renshaw avalanche had deployed avalanche airbags designed to “float” someone along the surface of a moving avalanche. But the airbags were ineffective in this case because the victims were in a gully at the bottom of a slope – an area where the debris flow of the avalanche is too constricted.

The vast majority of fatal avalanches are triggered by the victim or someone in the victim’s party.

Avalanche skills training courses teach proper trip planning, terrain selection and safe travel techniques, which can be effective in preventing accidents.

Information about current safety conditions, as well as training courses and equipment needs can be found at Avalanche Canada’s website, www.avalanche.ca.

Submitted by Avalanche Canada and the BC Coroners Service.

 

Just Posted

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Accused Shuswap drug smuggler to be extradited

Supreme Court of Canada upholds extradition order for accused Shuswap drug smuggler, Colin Martin

Interior Health holding immunization clinic in Vernon Saturday

IH issues list of Okanagan meningococcal immunization clinics

Police issue warrant for Sicamous man

Sheldon Odd wanted for theft under $5,000

Trustee to consider opening outdoor school in September

Staff recommend South Canoe School re-open with a new district program

Holiday Train rolls through the Shuswap

Hundreds of people have gathered in Sicamous, Canoe and Salmon Arm for… Continue reading

Tim Hortons owners honoured

Sicamous Tims owners Jonathan and Nicholas Dow receive Inclusive Employer Award

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

ERS band students swing in the season with Winter Concert

Show features mix of modern numbers and Christmas classics

One convicted, two cleared in 2014 deaths of men in B.C.’s Cariboo

Andrew Jongbloets convicted of manslaughter in deaths of Matthew Hennigar, 23 and Kalvin Andy, 22

AHUS patient Shantee Anaquod is home for Christmas

Less than a month after receiving first dose of $750K drug, 23 year old healthy enough to go home

Firefighter dies, thousands more take on California blaze

This is second death linked to the Thomas fire, northwest of Los Angeles

Moose calves rescued in northern B.C. are ‘golden nuggets:’ researcher

Calves discovered near Prince George in late May. Mother had been killed by a car

Missing Alberta man could be headed to Victoria

Police in Alberta say Vernon “Allan” Pickard has not been heard from since late November

Most Read