Mother of ice climber who perished in avalanche marks sombre anniversary

CALGARY - The journey of a grieving mother whose son, a Canadian Forces search-and-rescue technician, was buried in a powerful avalanche a year ago has come full circle.

See Full Article

Liz Quinn, of Moncton, N.B., along with friends and family members, will take a helicopter flight over the Polar Circus ice-climbing route in Banff National Park on Friday to mark the anniversary of the death of Sgt. Mark Salesse.

Salesse, 44, was training with others when an avalanche swept him off a narrow ledge, burying him beneath 4 1/2 metres of snow. His body was recovered a week later.

"I wanted to see where Mark fell," Quinn said in an interview with The Canadian Press when she arrived in Calgary late Wednesday. "I wanted to see where he spent his last few days."

She choked back tears as she explained how much he loved the mountains and his career.

"It might sound crazy but I feel he's there in the Rockies," she said. "I feel that Mark is pulling us here. It's going to close that circle."

Salesse wasn't wearing an avalanche transceiver, a device that allows rescuers to hone in on a signal and locate buried victims.

Colleagues say the New Brunswick native, who was based at CFB Winnipeg, was the strongest climber on his squadron of more than 200 SAR Techs.

Quinn said her son joined the military when he was 18 and turned down a mission to Afghanistan when the search-and-rescue opportunity came along.

"Mark was a tall guy. He never wanted to say he was over six foot five but he was a kid at heart. He was gentle and he was thoughtful," she recalled.

"He lived his life and he treated people the way he wanted to be treated."

Quinn proudly showed off a locket containing a smiling photo of her son on one side and a picture of him with several friends from Winnipeg.

There will be friends and family members remembering him in Banff, including Eric Boivin, an ex-SAR Tech and Salesse's climbing partner at the time of accident.

The Royal Canadian Air Force is conducting an official inquiry into his death to determine how it happened and how to prevent it from happening again.

The report and recommendations are expected within the next few weeks.

Quinn said she has been proud to talk about her son and wants Canadians to know what a SAR Tech does.

"People know that soldiers go to Afghanistan, they know they have gone to Rwanda, but there are soldiers in Canada that people don't know about," she said. "If doing this puts Canadian SAR Techs on the map and in people's minds, then Mark did not die for nothing."

Quinn doesn't expect to make the journey to the Rockies again.

"No, but I will remember him every year. I remember him all the time."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • 2 dead, 8 hurt in South Carolina nightclub shooting

    World News CBC News
    A shooting at a South Carolina nightclub left two people dead and eight wounded, a sheriff's official said. Two Greenville County sheriff's deputies noticed a disturbance at Lavish Lounge just before 2 a.m., and saw a large crowd running out of the building, Sheriff Hobart Lewis said at a news conference. Source
  • Rocket fired toward U.S. Embassy in Iraq injures child

    World News CTV News
    BAGHDAD -- The Iraqi military said Sunday that a rocket aimed at Baghdad's fortified Green Zone, home of the U.S. Embassy, struck a residential house and injured a child. Iraqi officials said the embassy's recently installed C-RAM air defence system may have attempted to intercept the rocket as the system was operational late Saturday. Source
  • Sheriff: 2 dead, 8 hurt in South Carolina nightclub shooting

    World News CTV News
    GREENVILLE, S.C. -- A sheriff's official said a shooting at a nightclub early Sunday left two people dead and eight wounded in South Carolina. Two Greenville County sheriff's deputies noticed a disturbance at Lavish Lounge just before 2 a.m. Source
  • Flooding in southern Japan leaves up to 34 dead

    World News CBC News
    Deep floodwaters and the risk of more mudslides that left at least 34 people confirmed or presumed dead hampered search and rescue operations Sunday in southern Japan, including at elderly home facilities where more than a dozen died and scores were still stranded. Source
  • 1 of 2 protesters hit by car on closed Seattle highway dies

    World News CTV News
    SEATTLE -- A car drove onto a closed freeway early Saturday and struck two people in a crowd protesting against police brutality, killing one and critically injuring the other, authorities said. Summer Taylor, 24, of Seattle died in the evening at Harborview Medical Center, spokesperson Susan Gregg said. Source
  • Schools urged to ensure students' security and privacy when conducting classes online

    Canada News CBC News
    As most parts of Canada are gradually reopening their economies following months of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some provinces — including Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and New Brunswick — have released plans on how they aim to allow students to return to the classroom in September. Source
  • A tale of 2 cities: Venice residents are torn between mass tourism and a more harmonious existence

    World News CBC News
    Francesco Penzo stands straddling a sandolo, a low boat Venetians once used for shooting ducks. He manoeuvres a long paddle deep into the water, steering the vessel around the corner of a canal in the former working-class neighbourhood of Cannaregio, the only sound the creaking of wood and birdsong echoing above. Source
  • Activists in the U.S. claim partial victory in long battle to reform, defund police departments

    World News CBC News
    For the thousands of protesters who marched through the streets of New York for more than 30 consecutive days demanding changes in policing, the headlines emerging from the city's budget debate should have signalled victory. "New York Police Department's budget has been slashed by $1 billion," wrote CNN. Source
  • COVID-19 puts people with disabilities at higher risk, advocates say

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Before COVID-19 placed much of the country on lockdown, Blaine Cameron lived an independent and active life in Ottawa. But when the pandemic hit, he lost both. Cameron, who has muscular dystrophy, lost his dedicated attendants who helped with daily tasks, and moved back in with his parents. Source
  • 'Thousands and thousands' of moths invade Quebec small town

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- While Quebecers are accustomed to shovelling in the winter, an eerie discovery in a small town in the province's northwest had some residents taking them out much earlier than expected. The people of La Sarre, about eight hours outside of Montreal, found themselves cleaning up piles of moths, both living and dead. Source