Saturday, February 18, 2012
Feb. 18, 1965, twenty-six copper ore miners near Leduc Glacier in British Columbia, Canada are killed by a massive avalanche. The disaster occurs at the Granduc Mine approximately 30 miles from the town of Stewart in northwestern, British Columbia. To access the copper ore buried beneath the glacier, the Granduc Mining Company drills an 11-mile tunnel through the glacier. On Feb. 18, a deadly snow and glacial slide crashes down without warning trapping 40 people at the mining camp. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canadian Air Force, and U.S. Coast Guard assist the rescue effort. Alaska ferry, Taku, is moored nearby to function as a hospital for the remote accident site. Due to overwhelming weather conditions, on February 26, the rescue mission is suspended with several victims still missing. Of the 40 people initially trapped by the avalanche, only 14 survive. The camp never reopens.
Earlier this month, a deadly avalanche occurred in British Columbia’s West Kootenay region on Meadow Mountain. The avalanche claimed the life of one person out of a group of 10 skiers and two guides. According to Canada’s Occupational Health and Safety Magazine, avalanches in Canada claim an average of 14 lives every year. Due to the avalanche risk in British Columbia, prior to any wintertime work being done, a written assessment identifying any potential hazards must be submitted to WorkSafeBC, the provincial agency responsible for worker safety. Anyone working in high-risk areas must complete an eight-day training course on avalanches and always work in pairs.