Updated: Coroner identifies five victims of avalanche near McBride

Five people died in an avalanche near McBride, B.C., various media outlets are reporting Friday evening.

McBride

McBride

Five snowmobilers from Alberta died in an avalanche in the Rocky Mountains near Alberta on Friday.

The five men were among 17 people who were snowmobiling in the Renshaw area north of McBride when one of them triggered a large avalanche at around 1:30 p.m., the BC Coroner Service said in a news release.

The victims are:

— Vincent Eugene Loewen, aged 52, of Vegreville, Alberta.

— Tony Christopher Greenwood, aged 41, of Grand Prairie County, Alberta.

— Ricky Robinson, aged 55, of Spruce Grove, Alberta.

— Todd William Chisholm, aged 47, of St. Albert, Alberta.

— John Harold Garley, aged 49, of Stony Plain, Alberta.

All five died on the scene.

The BC Coroners Service is investigating the avalanche. The area was closed over the weekend while an avalanche technician visited the site.

All that is known about the avalanche so far is that it was human-triggered. According to studies, 90 per cent of all fatal avalanches are triggered by either the victim of a member of their group.

Avalanche Canada issued a warning following the tragedy.

“There are layers of concern in the snowpack in many parts of this region (and others) and a fairly significant weather event added rain and snow to the snowpack over the last few days followed by clearing and cooling today,” wrote Karl Klassen, the public avalanche warning service manager for Avalanche Canada. “This may have produced stresses in the snowpack capable of producing large avalanches and this condition could take several days to settle and bond. Please be cautious this weekend.