Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Snowmobiler killed at wind-farm site

Was not travelling on groomed trail

  • Print

A 47-year-old RM of Montcalm man died when the snowmobile he was driving struck a fence around the construction site for a wind turbine on Wednesday.

Gerard Fillion was pronounced dead after Emerson RCMP and local emergency personnel rushed to the scene.

Marcel Bissonnette, Letellier's fire chief and one of the emergency responders called to the scene, said on Thursday the site was in a field and not on a marked snowmobile trail.

"Snowmobilers should know the conditions they are riding in," Bissonnette said.

"People just have to be careful on a piece of equipment. If not handled properly, it can be dangerous.

"This is a tragedy."

RCMP said the man was riding his snowmobile near St. Joseph, 97 kilometres south of Winnipeg, when he struck construction material at about 5 p.m.

The site is in the area where Premier Greg Selinger went on Tuesday to announce the first of 60 huge wind turbines were beginning to turn.

Once it is fully operational in March, the St. Joseph Wind Farm will be the largest in the province.

Marcel Fillion, Gerard's father, said he knows few details about the collision.

"He knew there was a trail through the field to that place -- I don't know if he was on the trail and that's what happened or if there was something wrong with the machine," Marcel said.

"It's about half a mile from his house. He knew the land, no problem. There's no trees out there.

"But now there's just the wind farm."

Marcel described his son, who was employed looking after hogs in the area, as a friendly, well-liked man. He is survived by his partner and the woman's four girls.

"He was very happy," Marcel said.

"He loved his family. He has been living with them for 10 years. He was Dad and I was Grandpa."

Marcel said his son, who would have turned 48 next week, wasn't an avid snowmobiler.

"He did it once in a while. I don't know where he got this machine."

RCMP Const. Miles Hiebert said no other people were injured in the collision and police continue to investigate.

But Hiebert said "any time you operate a machine we recommend driving within your abilities."

And Ken Lucko, executive director of Snoman (Snowmobilers of Manitoba) Inc., said "the safest place to ride is on a designated trail.

"If you're not on a trail, you can sink into soft, fluffy snow and you don't know what's underneath. A groomed trail is hard-packed."

Snoman grooms about 12,000 kilometres of trails on Crown and private lands. About 80 per cent of the trails are now open. Snoman's website, www.snoman.mb.ca, carries weekly updates on trail conditions.

Lucko said he didn't know any details of the collision, but he said it came just days before next week's international snowmobile safety week.

"We just want people to be safe and be careful," he said.

A spokesman for San Francisco-based Pattern Energy, the developer of the wind farm, who learned about the collision from a reporter, said the company was not commenting on the incident out of respect for the victim.

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 14, 2011 A5

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Police speak out on Red River search

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A female Mallard duck leads a group of duckings on a morning swim through the reflections in the Assiniboine River at The Forks Monday.     (WAYNE GLOWACKI/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS) Winnipeg Free Press  June 18 2012
  • Challenges of Life- Goose Goslings jump over railway tracks to catch up to their parents at the Canadian Pacific Railway terminalon Keewatin St in Winnipeg Thursday morning. The young goslings seem to normally hatch in the truck yard a few weeks before others in town- Standup photo- ( Day 4 of Bryksa’s 30 day goose project) - Apr 30, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you plan on attending any of the CMHR opening weekend events? (select all that apply)

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google