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January 14th, 2019
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Father and Son Die in Brewer Creek Avalanche Near Invermere, BC

An avalanche at Brewer Creek, near Invermere BC, has claimed the lives of a father and son from Calgary, 51-year-old Larry Burdiga and his 24-year-old son, Matt Burdiga.

Larry Burdiga was recovered the same day from under two meters of snow by Columbia Valley Search and Rescue, and flown to Invermere and District Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The deceased’s son was missing for an additional two days.

It was reported that the avalanche had swept Matt Burdiga into a lake at the bottom of the slope. Rescuers on-scene detected a transceiver signal from the lake, but were unable to locate or recover the body.

An RCMP Underwater Recovery Team searched the lake on Sunday without success, and was forced to return to the area on Monday to resume the search and has since successfully recovered the body of Matt Burdiga.

 

According to a CBC report, Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said that “the avalanche may have been triggered after one of the snowmobilers was highmarking.” Seven other members of the nine-person group were unharmed in the incident.

 

Brewer Creek Avalanche Fatality
In this image from a previous winter, the slope on the right and lake below is the reported location of the fatal avalanche.

A preliminary report from Avalanche Canada offers the following information on the avalanche, which occurred before 3 p.m. on January 12, 2019.

“A group of snowmobilers were on or near slopes on the south/southeast side of Mount Brewer in the Purcell Mountains. Two were caught in a very large Deep Persistent Slab avalanche 200-400m wide that ran 900-1100m onto a small lake. The avalanche failed near the ground on a layer of facets/depth hoar (sugary grains) that formed early in the season, then broke to the ground lower down on the slope. One deceased with an activated airbag was recovered from a two metre deep burial. The second person caught in the avalanche is still missing at the time of this report but a transceiver signal was located on the lake where debris is floating on the water. Recovery efforts are ongoing.”

Brewer Creek is located southwest of Invermere, British Columbia, in the Purcell Mountain Range.

Brewer Creek Avalanche Fatality
Avalanche Canada Photo
Brewer Creek Avalanche Fatality
Brewer Creek Avalanche Fatality
Brewer Creek Avalanche Fatality

Our most sincere condolences go to out to the family and friends of Larry and Matt Burdiga in this tragic incident.

Please, ride safe everyone.

 

– MS

 

A GoFundMe in memorial of Larry and Matt Burdiga can be found here.