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Close call for two snowmobilers after avalanche near Kaslo

Two men have been rescued by Kaslo search and rescue after a level three avalanche buried them 

Kaslo search and rescue manager Mark Jennings-Bates says the call came in on Friday around 1 p.m. They responded to a severe avalanche that buried two snowmobilers in the backcountry.

“The information we had was that two people were involved in an avalanche,” he says. “The critical thing for us is to consider the safety of those involved, but also the safety of our team as well.

“When dealing with any avalanche, especially a level three, we need to take extra special care when it comes to safety.”

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Jennings-Bates says there are only four classifications of avalanches, and a level three is enough to do serious damage to a house. 

According to Bates, out of the two people involved only one required serious medical attention in Cranbrook after he sustained head injuries in the slide. 

“One of the people involved was ambulatory, which helped aid in rescue efforts,” he says. “The other sustained severe head trauma, which was apparent by the cracked helmet, and he didn’t remember anything of the actual avalanche.

“Given the extent of the assessment, and the damage to the helmet, we took precautions and he was taken to Cranbrook to have access to specific medical services.”

He says although the injuries were severe the second person is expected to survive.

Jennings-Bates says he advises caution to anyone deciding to venture out into the backcountry with the arrival of spring weather, and to understand the dangers associated with avalanches and warm temperatures.

“It is perfectly normal for people to want to head out in the beautiful weather,” he says. “It is critical people have the experience, and training, in the backcountry because of the severity associated with slides. 

“Definitely watch the snowpack if you are in the backcountry.”

It marks the tenth rescue this year for Kaslo search and rescue, which  also responded to an avalanche earlier this year that claimed the lives of two Nelson police officers.

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