Alberta man found liable after riderless snowmobile strikes friend while in B.C.
A B.C. Supreme Court judge has found an Alberta man liable for damages after his runaway snowmobile travelled over a kilometre by itself before hitting his friend.
According to court documents posted on Wednesday, Devon Webb, Angelo Passerin and eight others travelled to McBride, B.C. in March 2013.
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The group headed out to the Mount Renshaw area to do some snowmobiling, which the group had done together before.
After lunch, Webb was snowmobiling when he hit a snowdrift, but when he hit the brakes the snowmobile pitched forward and down, throwing him off.
The riderless snowmobile then went over a 100-foot cliff, through a 20-foot powdered ravine and then continued to go at top speed for over a kilometre, until it hit Passerin.
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At that moment Passerin was on foot going to aid Webb’s sister, whose own snowmobile was stuck in deep snow. As he made his way towards her he was struck by Webb’s snowmobile.
Another member of the group who was higher up saw the riderless machine going towards Passerin but his shouts were not heard.
“The group tended to Mr. Passerin until he was helicoptered away about three to four hours later,” court documents read.
During the trial, court heard conflicting accounts from Webb and his family over whether or not he had attached to his clothes the safety cord that kills the engine when a rider comes off.
The judge ruled Webber breached the standard of care by not having the cord attached and found him liable for Passerin’s injuries.
“It would not be far-fetched for a reasonable person to foresee that an unmanned and moving snowmobile was a real risk in an area frequented by other snowmobilers,” the judge said in his reasoning.
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