January 31, 2016 1:22 am
Updated: January 31, 2016 2:17 pm

Friends, family share moving memories about victims of Friday’s deadly avalanche

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EDMONTON – On a beautiful, sunny afternoon, Dale Monaghan stood outside the RCMP detachment in McBride, B.C. thanking anyone and everyone who tried to save his friend’s life.

“We’re all in shock,” Monaghan said. “We’re absolutely numb. My daughter and I were riding another mountain in the area, we’re heading home in shock.”

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His friend, 49-year-old John Garley of Stony Plain, died in an avalanche near McBride B.C. Friday afternoon.

READ MORE: 5 Albertans killed in avalanche near McBride, B.C. 

“He was a tremendous fellow. He rode motorcycles, snowmobiles… his daughters were everything,” Monaghan said, choking back tears. “One’s flying home from Europe right now. She was on an exchange. It’ll be the toughest flight of her life.”

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Monaghan was not sledding on Renshaw Mountain Friday afternoon but he knows the terrain very well.

READ MORE: Village coming together after deadly avalanche: McBride mayor

Seventeen people were partially or completely buried in Friday’s devastating slide. Many managed to dig themselves out, or were rescued, but five men, all from Alberta, did not survive.

On Saturday, the B.C. Coroners Service confirmed the identity of the victims:

  • Vincent Eugene Loewen, 52, Vegreville, AB
  • Tony Christopher Greenwood, 41, Grande Prairie County, AB
  • Ricky Robinson, 55, Spruce Grove, AB
  • Todd William Chisholm, 47, of St. Albert, AB
  • John Harold Garley, 49, Stony Plain, AB

“Those that will be sledding up there today on any of the mountains in this area will be enjoying what we all love,” Monaghan said.

The family of Todd Chisholm released a statement Saturday evening:

“Todd had a passion for sledding in the mountains. He died too young doing what he enjoyed with his sledding buddies. Thanks to the four friends who were with Todd for their efforts. Todd will be sadly missed by his wife of 18 years, children, mother and father, brothers and sister, extended family, friends and community.”

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The statement went on to say: “Todd enjoyed fishing, hunting, camping and playing games with his children and wife. He also enjoyed music, quading and playing drums with the band.”

Another man who lost his life, Vince Loewen, was an accountant in Vegreville.

The town’s mayor, Myron Hayduk, called the avalanche a terrible tragedy.

“We’ve all got family and it hurts. It doesn’t matter who it is,” Hayduk said.

The City of Spruce Grove is also trying to process the news that one of their own was killed in the slide.

With files from Global News’ Nadia Stewart & Julia Wong & The Canadian Press

© 2016 Shaw Media

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