Wednesday, March 7, 2012

1820 to 2006 "Historical News Search" via Open Information. 1984, the first death of a Snowmobiler.

This morning's Vancouver Sun report of an avalanche killing a snowmobiler at Whistler triggered putting a query to Open Information.  "other supplies" has opened up many doors to what the BC Government has stashed away in no particular order, or in a neat chronological order, latest to oldest.

Using      snowmobiler      creates 341 weekly incident reports........ What I was looking for was something more of a historical nature, so I used "other supplies" and roadrunner.    RoadRunner is a provincial government Transportation magazine, and I thought it might have some substance.

Search Criteria in Open Information:     "other supplies" roadrunner    Four hits, second one down is this:

Page 1. Flooding and Landslide Events Northern British Columbia 1820-2006 ...

 Flooding and Landslide Events Northern British Columbia 1820-2006
D. Septer
There's just one hit when a search is done for "other supplies", this:

July 15-18, 1974
Event type: Spring runoff flooding.
Precipitation: Dease Lake (34.5 mm/1 day), July 16, 1974.
Source: The Vancouver Sun, July 19, 23 and 24, 1974; Coates 1992 (pp. 252-56).
In the middle of July, torrential rain and late melting snow caused floods and washouts in northwest and northern British Columbia. There had been exceptionally heavy snowfalls the previous winter. The following summer was cool, and mountain snowmelt slow. Warm weather arrived in early July, to be followed by exceptionally heavy rainfall starting on July 15.
The Alaska Highway experienced some of the worst flooding in its history. Within a matter of hours, dozens of miles of the highway had been rendered impassable. The storm continued, interrupting telecommunications and stranding hundreds of travellers. Of the people stranded in the washed-out sections, 50 were at Summit Lake, 50 at Toad River Lodge, others at isolated sites, and the largest group, 175 trapped at Muncho Lake. The Provincial Emergency Planning Group, assisted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, flew food and other supplies (as well as a social worker and a public health nurse to the group at Muncho Lake) to the stranded travellers.
The word Roadrunner doesn't exist in the document at all

Christy Clark's Open Information database is Flawed..... who was hired to create the information?

If you're still reading here, there's one more step in the "looking", the researching, the data mining, and its this.  If you copy a part of the title of the manuscript.....Flooding and Landslide Events Northern British Columbia into Google..... you get 71,500 hits.... but its the first one that makes you  say YES!

Hydrometeorological thresholds for landslide initiation and forest ...
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - Quick View
by MJKHO Lange - 2006 - Cited by 15 - Related articles
recorded in Northern British Columbia, including approximately. 50 deaths on July 6, 1881 ... discharge, estimated flood volume, and event intensity were used ...

A picture is truly worth a thousand words:

And this report only focuses on what you see in the photo above, it doesn't cover the rest on the trek east to Alberta's oil sands!

The following are just the one liners but the "Historical News Search" includes the full stories as well, and also the newspapers that wrote them

Appendix 3 - Reported fatalities caused by slope failures and snow avalanches in northern British Columbia.

Ca. 1852 A glacial outburst flood “destroyed several Indian villages and killed countless people,” including a settlement at the confluence of the Alsek and Tatshenshini rivers.
July 6, 1891 Debris avalanches near Port Edward killed 41 people at the Inverness cannery and nine at the North Pacific cannery.
Winter 1915-1916 A snow avalanche on the southeastern shoulder of Mount Cronin killed a man carrying mail for the Cronin mine.
December 28, 1917 A snowslide killed two mining employees on their way up to Rocher de Boule mountain.
October 1, 1922 A debris avalanche at Eicho Harbor near Ocean Falls killed five people and buried some houses.
May 4, 1931 The locomotive and three fish cars derailed when an eastbound train No. 6 hit a rockslide east of Amsbury. One trespasser riding on a fish car was killed.
Ca. February 20, 1932 Snowslides buried three men at the Jumbo mine near Wrangell, Alaska, killing at least one of them.
March 25, 1939 Ice jams caused the Murray River to suddenly overflow its banks west of Dawson Creek, taking a total of nine lives.
October 19, 1940 A passenger train plunged off the flood-weakened bridge across Lorne Creek. The engineer, fireman, and two passengers were drowned. According to another source, five lives were lost.
February 11, 1943 A series of three snow avalanches at MacLean Point west of Terrace killed three men and injured 12 others in the camp of the Tomlinson Construction Company.
January 15, 1947 A CNR foreman was killed when his speeder struck a rock on the track near Pacific.
October 27, 1953 A rockslide near Dorreen killed one miner at a placer mine at Lorne Creek.
May 15, 1954 A fireman was killed west of Prince George after a CNR passenger train dropped into a deep washed-out culvert caused by the breaching of a beaver dam.
October 18, 1954 A debris slide killed two construction workers at Mile 28 on the rail line between Terrace-Kitimat.
October 6, 1955 A PGE speeder hit a rock and jumped the tracks at Stone Creek south of Prince George, killing two members of a bridge and buildings crew and injuring two others.
November 21, 1957 A debris avalanche on Mount Oldfield near Prince Rupert killed seven people and destroyed three houses.
March 21, 1959 An eastbound freight train hit a slide west of Smithers and derailed, killing the engineer.
April 7, 1959 A snow avalanche at the Torbrit Silver Mine near Alice Arm killed one miner.
December 4, 1959 A rock and snowslide killed one employee and injured another on the Stewart/Cassiar Road project north of Stewart.
September 7, 1960 A mud and debris slide down a steep ravine 18 mi. (28.8 km) west of McBride killed three highway construction workers. Another man was injured while a fifth man escaped.
November 18, 1962 A snow avalanche on Hudson Bay’s Glacier Gulch near Smithers killed one mine employee.
July 21, 1963 A section of roadway north of Fort Nelson and just inside the Yukon Territory, gave way and buried a truck with two men, killing one and injuring the other one.
January 13, 1965 A snow avalanche on Mt. Caro Marion near Ocean Falls wiped out two duplex homes, killing seven and injuring five other people.
February 18, 1965 A snow avalanche on the Leduc Glacier near Stewart killed 26 and injured 20 workmen in the Granduc Mining Co. camp.
February 10, 1966 Heavy snowload on the roof of a welding shop in Kitimat collapsed, killing one man.
November 24, 1968 A massive slide of “overburden” of a mining operation west of Natal on Highway 3 killed two motorists and their small dog.
March 14, 1973 A snow avalanche on Nine Mile Mountain near Hazelton killed one snowmobile operator.
January 22, 1974 A snow avalanche wiped out a service station and motel/restaurant complex on Highway 16 west of Terrace. Seven people were killed.

 On January 22, a “dry” avalanche came down 28 mi. (45 km) west of Terrace. It wiped out a service station and motel-restaurant complex North Route along Highway 16. The service station had been built in 1964. It was located in the run-out zone of large avalanches that would probably occur once in about 15 years (Stethem and Schaerer 1979). According to a National Research Council report, tree growth patterns and broken wood in the area demonstrated that avalanches had reached the highway through two narrow gaps before the café was built. The North Route buildings stood directly in the path that dry, rapidly moving avalanches would be expected to take. “Unfortunately, the hazard was not recognised when the service center was built,” the report states. “And later, when avalanches did come close, the warning went unheeded.” (Terrace Standard, January 21, 2004). Several vehicles were also buried. Seven people were killed. *2)
The snow mass was estimated at 400 ft. (120 m) long, 100 ft. (30 m) wide, and 30 ft. (9 m) deep. The avalanche traveled 500-600 ft. (150-180 m) down and 1,000-1,500 ft. (300-450 m) across. D.D. Godfrey, Highways Department regional engineer for Burnaby, estimated the speed at which it traveled to be over 100 mph (160 km/h). The estimated speed of the avalanche when it hit the buildings was 108 km/h (Stethem and Schaerer 1979).
The avalanche snow ranged from 1-8 m in depth and was strewn with housing debris and trees up to 0.5 m in diameter. The average depth was 1 m, but the snow in the area surrounding the buildings was up to 8 m deep. The avalanche ran out on the ice of the Skeena River, with the tip of the deposit 250 m past the service centre. On several trees between the railroad and the river, snow was plastered on the north side of the tree trunks up to 30 ft. (9 m) above the tracks. Snowfalls at the accident site are usually greater than those at the Terrace airport. At the North Route site, the snowfall was probably greater by one third (Stethem and Schaerer 1979).
Earlier that morning, a Canada Post mail truck driver and only survivor, heard “a bunch of noise rattling outside.” He was told not to worry as “it’s way up in the hills.” Just after 8 a.m., the slide hit. “I heard it – just like a cannon shot,” he said. It pushed him through the wall of the coffee shop and 50 ft. (15 m) beyond.
During the rescue operations, a smaller slide occurred about a mile (1.6 km) from the disaster site. At 2:45 p.m., almost seven hours later the first body was found under 3.6 m of snow. Zobel was the second victim found, and he would be the only survivor. It was nearly 20 hours after the slide hit that the last bodies were found. The only other survivor was a husky. The dog was under a building and crawled out a couple of days later.
 The coroner’s inquiry found that logging carried out by the service station owner was a contributing factor to the slide. He had logged off an area above his property on Highway 16. Warmer temperatures loosened the heavy snowpack on the mountain above the highway triggering a fast moving powder snowslide. (The Vancouver Sun, March 21, 1974).

February 17, 1974 an avalanche on Mica Mountain west of Valemount killed one man and seriously injured two others.
October 30, 1978 A mudslide coming down in the BC Rail yard north of Prince George killed two employees. One man was buried alive and the second died of a heart attack while attempting to rescue the other.
November 2, 1978 Part of a CNR work train plunged into the Skeena River, killing an engine man and a conductor.
July 1980 A debris avalanche in the Beaver Valley near Terrace killed an equipment operator. The vibration of a caterpillar tractor set off the accident.
September 28, 1981 A mudslide killed a 25-year old man working on the new BC Rail line near the Tumbler Ridge coal site.
January 12, 1982 A snow avalanche at slidepath Rockface west of Terrace killed a 53-year old CNR section man and injured three other CNR employees.
February 13, 1984 An avalanche in the Red Fern Lake area south of Fort Nelson swept down a five-man snowmobiler party, killing an 18-year old Fort St. John man and a 20-year old man from Taylor.
February 22, 1985 An avalanche on Onion Mountain near Smithers killed a 29-year old man snowmobiling in the darkness.
March 29, 1986 An avalanche on the Cariboo Mountain trail south of Valemount killed four Alberta snowmobilers.
March 23, 1987 An avalanche near Blue River in the Cariboo Range killed seven heli-skiers. Another five skiers, who were trailing behind the group, escaped.
January 28, 1989 A snow avalanche near Telegraph Creek wiped out two houses, killing an 80-year old woman.

March 25, 1989 A piece of falling ice on Highway 16 at Carwash Rock west of Terrace killed the driver of a pick-up truck.
November, 1989 A logging truck driver was killed when his truck left Highway 37A after hitting a rock fall at the entrance to Little Canyon near Stewart.
June 11, 1990 A van carrying eight tree planters plunged off a partly washed out bridge over George Creek, killing four occupants.
November 27, 1991 An avalanche coming down Twin Falls near Smithers killed one ice-climber and injured four others.
January 3, 1992 A snow avalanche on Thornhill Mountain near Terrace buried and killed two local snowmobilers.
November 19, 1993 A small debris flow on the eastern shore of Alan Reach south of Kitimat buried and killed one logging employee.
May 22, 1994 A small snow avalanche killed one member of a ski-mountaineering group near Europa Lake south of Kitimat. The victim was swept over a 360-metre cliff.
September 28, 1994 A heavy equipment operator was killed when a section of road under construction at Kiseadin Creek near Greenville gave way.
May 17, 1996 An avalanche down the slope of Cerberus Mountain about 70 km from Bella Coola killed four skiers.
April 16, 1997 In West Quesnel, shifting soil snapped a gas line and caused an explosion that killed five people and injured 20 others.
January 7, 1999 An avalanche near Meziadin killed two Terrace-based Ministry of Transportation and Highways avalanche technicians.
December 28, 2002 Two Alberta snowmobilers got caught in an avalanche south of Valemount. One of the victims was killed.


If I find later details, they'll be posted here, and/or links to them.

1 comment:

kootcoot said...

If I remember correctly back in the early seventies, when I lived on Haida Gwaii (then the Q.C. Islands) an avalanche wiped out a truck stop near Terrace. And lo and behold I look more carefully at your list and there it is!

"January 22, 1974 A snow avalanche wiped out a service station and motel/restaurant complex on Highway 16 west of Terrace. Seven people were killed."