Non-Recreational Fatal Avalanche Accidents

   

Non-Recreational Fatal Avalanche Accidents

Since the characteristics and management of non-recreational avalanche accidents are considerably different, these types of accidents are discussed separately in this chapter. Between the winters of 1997 and 2007, there were a total of seven non-recreational accidents that resulted in 16 fatalities.

The only residential accident occurred in northern Quebec in Kangiqsualujjuaq on 1 January 1999. The local gymnasium, which served as the community centre for the New Year’s celebrations, was hit by a natural size 3 avalanche shortly after midnight, killing nine people and injuring some 25 others. This was the worst accident in terms of fatalities—five of them were children between the age of 22 months and eight years—during the period covered by this book.

There were a total of four fatal avalanche accidents in industrial settings resulting in five fatalities. This category refers to accidents that occurred at outdoor work places not directly related to recreational activities. These accidents primarily took place in western Canada and included Sa Dena Hes Mine on 16 April 1998Ningunsaw Pass on 7 January 1999 Parker Ridge on 12 January 2002, and Lizard Range on 14 January 2006. In addition to the five workers who perished in these accidents, an additional seven working individuals, including guides, died in recreational avalanche accidents between the winters of 1997 and 2007.

During the period cover by this book, there were two fatal accidents during subsistence hunting or fishing in the Canadian Arctic. Both these accidents occurred on Baffin Island; one at the northern tip of the island close to Arctic Bay on 7 March 1998 and the other in the southern part at Cape Mercy on 25 January 2004.

Recreational Fatal Avalanche Accidents