Father of three killed in avalanche near Kaslo

Father killed in avalanche

A man has died after being caught in an avalanche while snowmobiling in the West Kootenays.

The Kaslo RCMP says they received a notification of an inReach spot beacon on March 4 at 3:20 p.m. from the International Emergency Response Coordination Centre.

Kaslo Search and Rescue responded to the area, guided by GPS coordinates, in Antoine Basin near Mt Payne.

“A group of experienced snowmobilers had been sledding when one person was caught in an avalanche and buried in the snow,” Cpl. Madonna Saunderson. “The rest of the group managed to dig the man from the snow, however he was pronounced deceased at the scene.”

The victim has been identified by a GoFundMe campaign as Joe Leblanc, and husband and father to three small children. He was also a seven-year member of the Crescent Valley Fire Department.

The fundraiser has already raised nearly $25,000.

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