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February 2015: Sgt. Mark Salesse, R.I.P.


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Thoughts and prayers for the SAR community.  Hope the SAR Tech is found quickly.

A missing climber in Banff National Park was on a winter training exercise with the Canadian military when he was swept away by an avalanche Thursday night, CBC News has confirmed. 

A military spokesperson said the man is a Royal Canadian Air Force search and rescue technician from 17 Wing in Winnipeg.

At least the guy is well trained for being in situation like this. If anyone could survive it, it would be a Sar tech. Hope they find him, curled up to a fire in a lean to. Prayers sent.
An update on the extent of the avalanche and snowfall:  http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/searchers-hope-for-2nd-shot-to-find-missing-search-and-rescue-technician-291365831.html.    [Edit:  they've since changed the story at this link - the previous version mentioned that he was believed to be under approx 4.3 m of snow.] 

I served with Mark on a couple of occasions, & was happy to cross paths with him again by chance a few years ago; he said he was enjoying his work.  I hope the search goes safely.  :salute: 

Heart wrenching reading his mom's words "he worked very hard for the Canadian people for the last three decades."

Indeed, he gave it all

My condolences to his family, and to all who knew Sgt Salesse
still no news... damn shame. Thoughts and prayers to his loved ones.

edit: I reread article, I will add my condolences.
Article Link

LAKE LOUISE, Alta. The parents of a missing search-and-rescue technician buried in deep snow on a mountain in Alberta say he died doing what he loved most.

Sgt. Mark Salesse was training with others when an avalanche swept him off the Polar Circus ice-climbing route in Banff National Park on Thursday.

Salesse’s mother, Liz Quinn, and her husband, Robert, say in a statement that military officials have updated them on the recovery mission.

They say they’ve been told that their son is beneath at least 4 ½ metres of snow.

Crews are planning to try again today to reach Salesse after having to call off a short search on Monday due to the threat of further avalanches.

Salesse’s parents say if his body is not found in the next week, the search will resume in the spring.

“They will continue searching for Mark and bring our beautiful loving son home to us,” they said in their statement Tuesday.

“Our consolation is that Mark has died doing what he loved most, in the majestic mountains that so beckoned him. He chose his final resting place. He is at peace.”

Parks Canada has said that additional avalanches since Thursday — both natural and ones triggered to improve safety — have fallen on the area where Salesse, 44, is believed to be buried.

Salesse, who was based at CFB Winnipeg, was swept off a ledge by an avalanche when weather conditions changed quickly during a military exercise.

It’s believed he fell about 60 meters to a lower shelf and was covered.

More slides swept him further into a ravine bowl. Parks Canada had to trigger another avalanche to secure the area for the rescue teams.

“This, unfortunately but necessary for safety, produced a further several feet of packed snow on top of where Mark is located,” said his parents, who live in Moncton, N.B.

A spokesman for Parks Canada has said Salesse wasn’t wearing an avalanche transceiver, a device that allows rescuers to hone in on a signal and locate buried victims.

That means searchers have been relying on dogs to try to pick up a scent.

The Canadian Press

*So Others May Live*  RIP 

RIP Mark,  You were a great friend and an amazing Forces member. 

May you continue to climb the mountains you loved...
Without getting into factors in this particular situation, I'd be interested in finding out more about the protocols, in general, for CAF mbrs wearing avalanche transceivers when training in the mountains. 

My thoughts are with Mark's family, and his unit.  He was a good friend. 
Hear hear, bcbarman. 
He has been found.  Thankfully his family didn't have to wait until spring.
Agreed, newwifey.  Just saw the news this morning as well. 

RIP, Mark.  You will be missed.    :salute:  :cdn:

Some more information here, including further descriptions of how the search went, and pic # 4/11 showing the accident location & his eventual recovery site.


Just a request for a Moderator, can we please change the title of this thread.  Mark was not an aviator, he was a SAR Tech.  Thanks
Sharing a couple of pieces of info about Mark's funeral and memorial service, as fol:

Saturday 28 Feb at Comox BC:

Turesday, 3 Mar at Bathurst NB:

:salute:    :cdn:
Remembering ...
The journey of a grieving mother whose son, a Canadian Forces search-and-rescue technician, was buried in a powerful avalanche a year ago has come full circle.

Liz Quinn, of Moncton, N.B., along with friends and family members, will take a helicopter flight over the Polar Circus ice-climbing route in Banff National Park on Friday to mark the anniversary of the death of Sgt. Mark Salesse.

Salesse, 44, was training with others when an avalanche swept him off a narrow ledge, burying him beneath 4 1/2 metres of snow. His body was recovered a week later.

"I wanted to see where Mark fell," Quinn said in an interview with The Canadian Press when she arrived in Calgary late Wednesday. "I wanted to see where he spent his last few days."

She choked back tears as she explained how much he loved the mountains and his career.

"It might sound crazy but I feel he's there in the Rockies," she said. "I feel that Mark is pulling us here. It's going to close that circle." ...
Bumped with the latest ...
The mother of a Canadian Forces member who died in an avalanche during a training exercise in Banff National Park says she’s satisfied with the results of a report into his death.

Late Monday, the military delivered the board of inquiry report into Sgt. Mark Anthony Salesse’s death to his mother, Liz Quinn, at her family’s home in Moncton, N.B.


Salesse’s death led to the board of inquiry by the Canadian Forces, which came up with the nearly 50-page report on how to improve the safety of search and rescue technicians.

The recommendations, which were released by Quinn, are:

* include a section on human factors in mountain rescue to technical courses for search and rescue technicians

* make the Avalanche Skills Training 2 (AST2) course a pre-requisite for search and rescue technicians

* create a working group to identify other requirements for search and rescue technicians for mountain rescue and terrain travel require technicians to update their training annually

* direct the use of avalanche equipment and an appropriate communications device when involved in ice climbing or backcountry skiing training in terrain with an avalanche hazard

* ensure all mountain rescue equipment be purchased with centrally controlled funding to allow for oversight, control and life-cycle management.

Quinn, who visited Polar Circus earlier this year, said she’s pleased with the final report and its recommendations.

“They covered it very well,” she said.

“Not only have the recommendations been made, but they have been approved ...
Seems like a reasonable outcome. I am  till amazed at the previous injuries this man experienced and his recoveries to the level achieved. One tough dude, probably a hell of a good guy too!