B.C. highway reopened after landslide threat
A landslide struck Johnsons Landing, a tiny hamlet on the shores of Kootenay Lake, B.C., Thursday, July 12, 2012. (British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Published Wednesday, July 18, 2012 7:59AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 18, 2012 10:27PM EDT
A stretch of southeastern British Columbia highway closed due to flooding and concerns of a landslide is open again Wednesday, even as the region struggles to cope with effects of torrential rains and sodden ground.
Crews dealt with several mudslides in the Castlegar and Nelson area of the Kootenays on Tuesday, propelled by a deluge that saw more than 50 millimetres of rain fall in just one hour.
A section of Highway 3A between the two communities was closed temporarily, and three homes threatened by an overflowing creek in Thurms, east of Castlegar were evacuated, but there were no reports of any injuries.
The residents were granted permission to return to their homes Tuesday night, but a regional district official told The Canadian Press the residents opted to spend the night away from their homes anyway.
At the site of last week's deadly landslide, approximately 150 kilometres north in the community of Johnsons Landing, two teams of 12 searchers are continuing their hunt Wednesday for German vacationer Petra Frehse, 64, and a young woman they believe is still trapped there.
They are focusing their efforts near where the bodies of 60-year-old Valentine Webber and one of his daughters were found, as well as the area where the German tourist's cabin stood before a crush of mud and debris devastated three homes in the remote hamlet.
With their operation now being co-ordinated by the B.C. Coroner's Service, search crews have been using excavators and other heavy equipment to dig through the debris.
On Tuesday, after his ministry confirmed it had received an email from a resident concerned that a creek was clogged just hours before the Johnsons Landing slide, B.C. Forests Minister Steve Thomson said the province would review whether there are any lessons to be learned from what happened.
Thomson said the terms of reference for the review were yet to be determined.