Two Canadian avalanches kill three people

March 26, 2009 at 8:17 AM
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, March 26 (UPI) -- The Royal Canadian Mounted Police say three people were killed in two separate avalanches in British Columbia this week.

The first slide happened Tuesday night on Renshaw Mountain near the central town of McBride, The Province newspaper in Vancouver reported.

The RCMP said a wall of snow washed over three snowmobilers but only one was able to free himself. He dug out one friend but he was dead, the report said. The second man's body was located Wednesday but conditions were too dangerous to recover it, police said.

The second slide hit about 2 p.m. Wednesday near the south-central town of Kimberley. It engulfed five snowmobilers, four of whom managed to dig themselves out. They recovered the body of the fifth man, the RCMP said.

The Canadian Avalanche Association says British Columbia's average avalanche fatality rate is 14 per year. The yearlong counting period begins each Aug. 31. This week's activity brought the current reporting period's total to 22, the report said.

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