MOUNT BREWER (NEWS 1130) – A father and son from Calgary are dead after an avalanche near the B.C.-Alberta border.
According to Avalanche Canada, the pair was with seven other people snowmobiling on the south side of Mount Brewer in the Purcell Mountain range when the slide hit on Saturday.
Police say the sledders were believed to be high marking, a risky activity where a snowmobiler drives straight up a steep slope.
A GoFundMe page has identified the victims as 51-year-old Larry Burdiga and 24-year-old Matt Burdiga from Calgary.
They were caught in a slide described to be 200 to 400 metres wide. The snow slid more than a kilometre before stopping in a lake.
“The avalanche failed near the ground on a layer of facets/depth hoar (sugary grains) that formed early in the season, then broke to the ground lower down on the slope,” an Avalanche Canada report reads.
The elder Burdiga was wearing an airbag but the device was not enough to keep him at the surface of the snow, which thundered more than a kilometre down the hill, sweeping his son into the waters of a small lake, where the avalanche ended.
Matt Burdiga’s body was found Monday morning, but couldn’t be recovered until later in the day, when the RCMP Underwater Recovery Divers could access the area.
The BC Coroners Service is investigating both the men’s deaths.