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Sledder engulfed, second escapes as avalanche hits near Prince George

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. - One of the first heavy snowfalls of the season has swept away a snowmobiler in north-central B.C.

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. - One of the first heavy snowfalls of the season has swept away a snowmobiler in north-central B.C.

The Prince George resident was hit by an avalanche that occurred Sunday afternoon as the man and a friend were sledding in the Torpy Mountain recreation area about 100 kilometres northeast of Prince George.

Prince George RCMP say the second man was able to avoid the slide but the unidentified victim was engulfed by the nearly two metres of new snow that has fallen in the region - one metre of that in the 24 hours before Sunday's avalanche.

Search and rescue teams rushed to the area but could not immediately begin looking for the man because of concerns about snow conditions and fading light.

An avalanche expert will fly over the scene today to assess whether it is safe to begin a search, or whether explosives will be needed to loosen unstable snow before crews start work.

Eleven people died in six avalanches in B.C. and one in Alberta during the 2010-2011 avalanche season, six of them snowmobilers.

 
 
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