The B.C. Coroners Service has identified a 34-year-old Okanagan man who died after being buried in up to five metres of snow in a weekend avalanche east of Vernon.
Adrian John Cleary, of the district of Coldstream, died in hospital following his rescue from the snow, according to a statement issued Monday by the coroners service.
On Saturday, Mr. Cleary was out snowmobiling with five others in the Monashee Mountains about 90 kilometres east of Vernon when the group was hit by an avalanche while near the Keefer Lake Resort.
Mr. Cleary was extracted from the depths of the snow, but died in Kelowna General Hospital after it proved impossible to resuscitate him, according to the statement.
The Telegram newspaper in St. John’s reported Monday that Mr. Cleary was the son of Joan Cleary, the mayor of the town of Come by Chance. The paper said Mr. Cleary worked as a nurse and that his wife was pregnant with the couple’s first child.
The RCMP and coroners service are investigating the incident, which came on the same weekend that two snowshoers were killed in an avalanche near Lake Louise in Alberta.
Larry Marzinzik, regional coroner for the Interior Region, said in an interview that witnesses are still being interviewed and there will also be an assessment of equipment used by the party hit by the avalanche.
Mr. Marzinzik said he did not have any information at this time on what triggered the avalanche or how it came to strike the group that Mr. Cleary was a member of.