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Avalanche near Cherryville sends one to hospital

The incident came the same day two heli-skiers were killed in an avalanche near Revelstoke
An avalanche near Cherryville sent one person to hospital Monday, Jan. 23, 2023. (File photo)

One person was taken to hospital after being caught in an avalanche near Cherryville Monday afternoon, Jan. 23.

BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) confirms that paramedics received a call at 2:15 p.m. Monday and dispatched an ambulance to the Cherryville area, before transporting one patient to hospital.

BCEHS did not disclose the extent of the person’s injuries.

The incident came on the same day that two heli-skiers were killed in an avalanche in the mountains near Revelstoke. According to Rob Rohn, president and COO of CMH Heli-Skiing, The avalanche took place near Mount McCrae in an area known as Chocolate Bunnies near Revelstoke, and involved two buried skiers and one partially buried guide.

The two skiers were flown to the Kelowna airport and then transferred to Kelowna General Hospital, where they both died. The CMH guide is reportedly in stable condition.

The B.C. government is sounding the alarm that conditions are currently ripe for dangerous avalanches. In a Tuesday media release, the Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness urged people to be prepared and “extremely cautious” in the backcountry with continued high avalanche risk forecast in many areas of the province.

“Being caught in an avalanche is a life-threatening situation that has already claimed five lives in British Columbia this year,” said Bowinn Ma, Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness.

“Avalanche Canada continues to forecast dangerous snowpack and we’re urging everyone to exercise heightened levels of caution and vigilance in the backcountry this season. This year’s snowpack is being compared to 2003, which was one of the worst years for avalanche fatalities. Please check the avalanche forecast and follow any guidance from Avalanche Canada to stay safe.”

Avalanche Canada is encouraging people to stay away from steep slopes and terrain, and to check for forecasted avalanche conditions.

“This is a highly unusual and unpredictable snowpack. The complication with this snowpack setup is that the layers are deep enough that we are less likely to see clues of instability, like nearby avalanche activity, ‘whumpfing’ or cracking snow,” said Ryan Buhler, forecast supervisor for Avalanche Canada.

“However, despite the lack of obvious clues, there is serious potential for large, human-triggered avalanches. We urge backcountry users to exercise caution and make conservative, low-consequence choices if they decide to travel in avalanche terrain.”

Buhler said people traversing the backcountry should always check for the avalanche forecast, carry a transceiver, probe and shovel, and be trained to use them.

Avalanche Canada expects the current risky conditions to last the remainder of the winter season in some areas.

Over the past 10 years, about 73 per cent of all Canadian avalanche fatalities have occurred in B.C. About 85 per cent of Avalanche Canada’s services are delivered in B.C.

- With files from Josh Piercey

READ MORE: 2 heli-skiers killed in avalanche near Revelstoke

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Brendan Shykora
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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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