One dead, one injured, unknown number of snowmobilers possibly buried in Eagle Pass avalanche

This is the Eagle Pass Snowmobile Area where an avalanche on Friday afternoon killed one sledder and left another person injured. An unknown number of people may be buried beneath the snow, however the search has been postponed until Saturday morning. Image courtesy of the Sicamous Snowmobile Club

By David F. Rooney

One person is dead, another is injured and an unknown number of people may have been buried in an avalanche at the Eagle Pass Snowmobile area about 30 kilometres west of town, Mayor David Raven said early Friday evening.

“These are unorganized snowmobilers so we don’t have a lot of details at the moment,” he said in a telephone interview.

RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk confirmed the toll of the avalanche.

“There were persons on the hillside with a group or two unassociated groups below,” he said in an interview. “The avalanche was human triggered.”

An official statement on the RCMP website said the avalanche took place at 3:57 pm and “has been categorized as a large slide (Class 4).”

Moskaluk said SAR united from Sicamous and Revelstoke have, for now, shut down their search of the debris field. Two CARDA rescue dogs and a Parks Canada rescue dog as well as helicopters from the RCMP, CMH and Selkirk-Tangiers are involved in the rescue, which has now been halted as sunset is rapidly descending on the mountains. It will be resumed in the morning.

He said Sicamous RCMP will handle the accountability checks of hotels and parking lots to make sure everyone who was sledding in the area is accounted for.

Mary Clayton of the Canadian Avalanche Centre said that while no special warning was issued this week conditions remain very dangerous in the background.

Just six days ago two Alberta men were killed and 31 other people injured — four of them seriously — during a massive avalanche on Boulder Mountain just outside town.

A news conference regarding this latest avalanche has been tentatively scheduled for Saturday morning at the Revelstoke Community Centre. Additional details will be published as they are made available.