The community of Horsefly is mourning the loss of a beloved volunteer fire captain, who died in an avalanche at Eureka Peak Monday, March 29.
Ben Morhart, 37, was a lifelong community member always willing to lend a hand or give a smile, according to a outpouring of support on the Horsefly Volunteer Fire Department’s Facebook page where they announced the loss.
“He was a captain, a leader and someone everyone looked up to. He was our Superman,” reads the post.
Morhart was part of a group of snowmobilers who rode to the upper reaches of Eureka Peak, east of Williams Lake, Monday.
While stopped at the top, Morhart walked toward the edge of the ridge and triggered a cornice failure. Morhart fell with the cornice which triggered a slab avalanche in steep terrain.
RCMP Cpl. Madonna Saunderson, district advisory NCO for the North, said South Cariboo Search and Rescue (SCSAR) was notified of the incident at 4 p.m. where it was reported that one person died. At 6:52 p.m., the Williams Lake RCMP were notified.
Saunderson said SAR attended in a helicopter, finding the site completely buried and were unable to set down. She added SAR members did detect an avalanche transceiver and spoke with witnesses.
According to a report by Avalanche Canada, rescue efforts were hampered Monday by the rugged terrain, concerns about overhead hazard and loss of daylight.
Members of the South Cariboo Search and Rescue with support from an avalanche technician carried out a recovery mission using a helicopter Tuesday.