On January 11, 2009 at 2:17 PM, the Chetwynd RCMP responded to a 9-1-1 call reporting a group of snowmobilers were caught in an avalanche in a remote mountainous area southwest of Chetwynd. Chetwynd RCMP members attended the area where the snowmobiles were deployed.
The avalanche occurred approximately 25 kms from the vehicles. Of the fourteen snowmobilers in the group, five were caught in the avalanche. All five were dug out, however one was deceased. The remaining snowmobilers were forced to leave the deceased because they feared for their safety. All other snowmobilers in the group have been accounted for.
The avalanche was estimated to be two to three metres deep and 2/3 of a kilometre long. The width is not known. Up to five snowmobiles (machines NOT people) remained covered by the avalanche.
Due to the danger of further avalanches, no attempts to retrieve the deceased were made until the avalanche technician deemed the area safe.
On January 12th at approximately 12:00 PM, an avalanche technician was able to fly over the site of the avalanche and access the area as safe. At approximately 4:00 PM, Search & Rescue accompanied by the avalanche technician, attended the scene of the avalanche via snowmobile and recovered the deceased. The deceased is a 45 year old male from Rycroft, Alberta. No name will be released at this time.
The RCMP would like to remind the public that every precaution should be taken when operating snowmobiles. Please do not operate snowmobiles in area where avalanches are likely or may possibly occur.