Detailed Accident Report

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Date: 2001-04-18
Submitted By: Bradford White
Place: Ram Falls near Nordegg, AB
State: AB
Country: CANADA
Fatalities: 1
Summary: 1 snowmobiler caught buried and killed

An Official report will be posted from the CAA

When it is submitted.

There was a sledder's avalanche accident in Alberta on the 18th of April with

one fatality. Details are a little hard to come by but the little we know so

far is this.

A group of snowmobilers were traveling up into some terrain near treeline about

1.5 miles west of Ram Falls on the Forestry trunk road near Nordegg, AB. This

area is characterized by very low snowfall typical of the east slopes but recent

upslope storms and strong winds had created a slab on top of the early season

facets. The group were undercutting a steep slope and one rider had gone out

under it and made a loop. The second rider cut out under the slope and triggered

the avalanche that caught him and buried him in a terrain trap at the bottom of

the slope. There are no details on the terrain, snowpack or avalanche

characteristics, but one survivor said that the slide was about " 1/2 mile wide

X 1/2 mile deep".

Three survivors who witnessed the burial quickly began a beacon search as the

victim was wearing a transceiver. They managed to reduce the search area to

about 20' X 20' fairly quickly but were unable to pinpoint the exact burial

location. One survivor had a 200cm probe but was unable to find anything.

Finally after about 3/4 to one hour a strike was made by probing sideways into a

deep pile of debris. The sled and then the victim were eventually excavated. The

victim was recovered after more than 1 hour of digging and was reportedly " over

10' deep".