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Snowmobiler who died in avalanche may have saved another man’s life

Snowmobiler Chris McCoy, who died in an avalanche in Boulder Mountain in the West Kootenay region of B.C. Saturday afternoon, is shown in a handout photo.

HO/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The wife of an Alberta snowmobiler who died in an avalanche in B.C.'s West Kootenay region on Saturday says her husband's last act may have saved someone's life.

Kathy McCoy says she has been told by family members that Chris McCoy, her husband of five years, tried to help a man whose snowmobile became stuck just before they were caught in an avalanche.

"He'd always be the first one getting in there helping someone," said Ms. McCoy. "If he hadn't, I don't know what would've happened had he not gone in to get him unstuck."

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Mr. McCoy, who had just celebrated his 36th birthday on Valentine's Day, died from his injuries, but the man he tried to help survived, she said.

Her husband, who was from Sylvan Lake, had been sledding for 18 years and was an avid outdoorsman, she said.

Ms. McCoy's fondest memory of her husband was during a family trip they had taken this past Christmas to Boulder Mountain, near Revelstoke.

"He had a smile on his face and it was pretty much there until we came back," said Ms. McCoy. "It was a permanent smile for the whole Christmas holidays."

"Nothing made him happier than when he was in the mountains," she said.

Mr. McCoy, who worked as a financial services agent, was a loving stepfather to her two sons, who are 17 and 18, Ms. McCoy said.

Initial reports said three people were in the area when the slide occurred, but police now say a total of four snowmobilers, all from Alberta, were present.

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Police say all riders were equipped with safety gear and beacons.

The B.C. Coroner's service is investigating the death.

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