Natural Resources

Avalanches

Date: January, 2003

Location: Nain

Easting: ?

Northing: ?

Latitude: 56° 32' 00" N

Longitude: 61° 41' 00" W

Fatalities: 0

Injuries: 0

Source: CBC news reports.

The following is a news item posted on at CBC NEWS ST JOHN'S opens new window opens new window

NAIN - People in Nain are keeping a close eye on the surrounding hills after six snowmobilers narrowly escaped being buried by an avalanche. RCMP Sergeant Kevin Baillie was one of the snowmobilers. He says the weather was good at the time, and the group had no warning.

"(It was) just a shock to get hit from the right with a massive wall of snow," he says. "My first thought was 'this is how I'm going to die' as I tumbled through the snow." Baillie says. "I couldn't believe I was caught in an avalanche just a couple of miles outside of Nain."

Baillie says he had a few seconds of panic as he clawed his way through up to a metre of snow.

The snowmobilers were struck earlier in January in an area known as Blow Hole. An avalanche observer in Nain, Paul Fenton, says it's an active avalanche area, and a young boy was almost buried there by a smaller slide two years ago. Fenton works with the Inuit to identify the many danger zones in northern Labrador. He says people have to know exactly where they're going to avoid potential avalanches in the hills around Nain.

"It's smart to stay away from those areas," he says, but traditional trails run through them. "If you're following the traditional trail and there at the wrong place, at the wrong time, you're at high risk," Fenton warns.

Photograph of avalanched slope, copyright Paul Fenton

 
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