ENVIRONMENT
01/29/2016 10:17 pm ET Updated Jan 30, 2016

'Very Large' Avalanche Kills 5 Snowmobilers In British Columbia

The avalanche was human-triggered, officials said.

Five snowmobilers were killed by an avalanche in eastern British Columbia on Friday, authorities said.

The "very large, significant avalanche event near McBride in the North Rockies," was human-triggered, according to Karl Klassen, of the non-government, non-profit organization Avalanche Canada.

The BC Coroners Service released the names of the victims, all who died at the scene, on Saturday:

Vincent Loewen, 52, of Vegrevill, Alberta.

Tony Greenwood, 41, of Grand Prairie County, Alberta.

Ricky Robinson, 55, of Spruce Grove, Alberta.

Todd Chisholm, 47, of St. Albert, Alberta.

John Garley, 49, of Stony Plain, Alberta.

The five were snowmobiling when the avalanche was triggered around 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time, the Royal Canadian Mountain Police said in a statement. There were several groups of snowmobilers in the area, according to police, and officials were working to confirm all others were accounted for. Six to eight other snowmobilers lost their vehicles in the avalanche.

 

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The region, roughly 125 miles southeast of Prince George, had been hit by significant rainfall and snowfall, which compounded the danger of an already unstable snowpack, according to the non-government, not-for-profit organization, Avalanche Canada. He advised that others in the area be cautious, as the avalanche-prone conditions may persist.  

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