Natural Resources

Avalanches

Date: March 12, 1863

Location: Distress Cove (now St. Brides), Placentia Bay

Easting: 715000

Northing: 5199600

Latitude: 46° 55' 00" N

Longitude: 54° 11' 00" W

Fatalities: 2

Injuries: 0

Source: "When Was That" by Mosdell, The Express

On the morning of 12 March 1863, the Foley brothers, John and William and two companions, left Distress Cove , looking for sea-ducks. The Express on March 28 reported thus:

"In going down a bank being about 100 feet in height with a slope of about 45° an immense avalanche of snow, overhanging the slope, let go after they had passed about halfway down and overwhelming two of them, William Foley and William Doyle, buried one of them under its mass; hurling the other one into the sea where he was drowned. On the alarm being given a large number of persons collected and by shoveling the snow in a few hours discovered the dead body of one, the dead body of the other being recovered from the sea on the 16th. They were both young men of excellent character and their sudden loss is much regretted".

Death by drowning in an avalanche accident is unusual but not unprecedented- Pierre Trudeau's son Michel died in a similar manner in 1998. The community of Distress Cove is now known as St Brides, and the location of the avalanche is uncertain. The bay now known as Distress Cove is surrounded by gentle slopes, and the victims may well have met their end below the much steeper cliffs lying south of St Brides.

 
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