B.C. chief coroner expects to know cause of deadly avalanche

VANCOUVER - The B.C. Coroner's Service is confident it will pinpoint the cause of an avalanche near the community of McBride that killed five Alberta snowmobilers last week.

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Coroner Barb McLintock says investigators have "nearly always" been able to determine what triggered previous slides.

An avalanche technician wrapped up work on the site in eastern British Columbia on Sunday.

McLintock says in addition to determining the cause of the slide, the investigation will look at contributing factors and whether anything could have been done differently to avoid the deaths.

She says her office will also have to determine whether any recommendations can be made to prevent a similar tragedy from happening in the future.

McLintock says it's impossible to predict how long the investigation will take.

The area where Friday's slide occurred about 20 km east of McBride has been reopened to the public, but the Coroner's Office is urging any members of the public venturing into B.C.'s back country to check with Avalanche Canada to see what risk levels are.

The five who were killed were among four separate groups of snowmobilers who were in the same area when the slide came down.

The avalanche risk was rated as "considerable" and warning signs were posted.



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