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UPDATED: Nelson police officer dies in avalanche near Kaslo

An avalanche near Kaslo has claimed the life of one Nelson police officer and critically injured another. 

The two officers were off duty, touring the backcountry near Kaslo, when the avalanche  around noon Monday killed Cst. Wade Tittemore, 43, and injured Cst. Mathieu Nolet, 28.

Chief Donovan Fisher said in a media release the department has been deeply affected by the tragedy.

“Nelson is one of the smallest municipal police forces in Canada,” Fisher says. “We are one big happy family, the impact of the death of Cst. Tittemore has a profound effect on the force, and our community.”

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Tittemore had been with the Nelson Police Department for over four years. According to the release, he was an avid backcountry enthusiast who loved skiing, hiking, and backpacking. He moved to Nelson from Calgary, where he served with the Calgary Police Service for 11 years. He is survived by a wife and two sons.

Nolet is in the intensive care unit of a local hospital. It was not immediately clear how long he has been with the police department.

Mayor Janice Morrison also expressed her condolences on behalf of the city.

“Officers in a city the size of Nelson are part of the community and make connections with people,” she says. “A tragedy like this deeply affects us all.”

Mike Farnsworth, minister of public safety and solicitor general, also offered condolences and support for the department.

“On behalf of British Columbians, we send our deepest condolences to everyone affected by this tragedy,” he said in a prepared statement. “Our thoughts are also with the officer who was critically injured, and we with them well s they begin to recover.”

Avalanche Canada indicates the avalanche danger in the area is considerable in the alpine and moderate lower down.

They have warned that unstable layers have resulted in an unusually weak snowpack.

The public is invited to email their condolences for Tittemore’s family.

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