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Skier dies after being trapped in avalanche in Gaspésie

Thursday, February 20th 2020, 11:16 am - A second skier suffered minor injuries after being buried in snow.

One skier has died and another suffered minor injuries after they were caught in an avalanche in Quebec's Chic-Chocs mountain range on Wednesday.

The two skiers were among a group of four in an area known as the Mines Madeleine, an area reserved for expert skiers equipped with avalanche gear located in Gaspésie provincial park.

The avalanche happened at around 11:20 a.m. at the top of a mountain with a bowl-like shape and steep slope, police said.

The two victims were buried in the snow, and the other two skiers were able to dig them out.

CBC - Chic-Choc mountains The Chic-Chocs mountain range in Gaspésie provincial park, pictured here in an archival photo, was the site of an avalanche Wednesday. (JF Deschênes/Radio-Canada)

REACHED BY SNOWMOBILE

Quebec provincial police spokesperson Claude Dorion said police and provincial park staff assisted with the rescue efforts. Those efforts were hampered by the remote location,17 kilometres from the nearest road.

Rescue crews reached the scene by snowmobile, transporting the pair to hospital in Saint-Anne-de-Monts, Que., some 50 kilometres away.

Avalanche Québec, an organization that monitors the area for avalanches, said the risk of avalanche was considerable in the alpine zone, where trees are sparse.

There was heavy snowfall and strong winds overnight, contributing to the risk, the organization says.

"We do not yet know exactly the size of the avalanche, but according to what we have heard, it would have been an avalanche large enough to bury a person," said Laurie Dumas, an avalanche forecaster with the agency.

COULD YOUR VOICE START AN AVALANCHE?

This article was written for the CBC.

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