Avalanche report to be released next week

Coroner Jacques Bérubé says that his report into last year’s deadly New Year’s Eve avalanche in Kangiqsualujjuaq will likely be released to the public in March, after it’s translated into English and Inuttitut.


KANGIRSUK — The Quebec coroner’s report into the nine deaths caused by last year’s disastrous New Year’s Eve avalanche in Kangiqsualujjuaq should be officially deposited next week in Quebec City, some six months later than originally promised.

“You’re better to do the job well, and not botch it,” said coroner Jacques Bérubé in explaining the delay.

Bérubé presided over a three-week inquest held last April in Kangiqsualujjuaq.

“The nine victims will never come back. The school has been moved, the houses have been moved. So, the problems are settled,” he said. “A week one way or the other [in releasing the document] won’t make a difference now.”

Bérubé said the final report is long, and contains a full chronological outline of all events that occurred in Kangiqsualujjuaq on the evening of Jan. 1.

Bérubé said he couldn’t reveal the details of his report’s recommendations until its official release, but he did say they are designed to prevent further deaths from occurring in similar circumstances

He said the recommendations will show how many parties “missed the boat” in responding to the disaster.

“A chain is only as strong as its links,” Bérubé said.

Last week in Kangirsuk, Serge Ménard, Quebec’s public security minister, told members of the Kativik Regional Government council and Makivik Corporation’s executive that the coroner’s report would be released Feb. 29.

He also informed the gathering that Norwegian avalanche specialists are due to arrive in Kangiqsualujjuaq Feb. 29 to begin a study of avalanche risks in that community and others in Nunavik.

But the actual release date of the coroner’s report is likely to be postponed until March, because the document must first be translated from French into English, and then into Inuttitut.

When the three versions are ready, Bérubé said he would like to personally travel to Kangiqsualujjuaq to release the document, depending on his availability and the willingness of the Quebec government to pick up the tab for the trip.

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