Instability at B.C. landslide site thwarts rescue efforts
Published Thursday, July 12, 2012 6:46PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 12, 2012 10:07PM EDT
The search for at least four missing people after a landslide in a remote vacation spot in southeastern B.C. has been temporarily called off due to instability.
The slide happened near the community of Johnsons Landing, which is roughly 70 kilometres north of Nelson.
Witnesses say a wall of mud and debris came crashing down the mountain at around 11 on Thursday morning.
“I was standing on the road this morning when the rumbling sound came along, and you could actually here this rumbling come down the mountain and go past us,” resident Richard Ortega told CTV News.
The slide destroyed three homes, and the number of people still unaccounted for is between four and eight, RCMP spokesperson Cpl Dan Moskaluk said.
The area has no cellphone reception so officials have been unable to reach the residents whose homes were affected, and it is not known if those unaccounted for were home when the landslide occurred.
Crews had started a search but instability on the mountain meant the search had to be temporarily suspended for the safety of the rescue workers until geotechnicians can determine it is safe, said Bill Macpherson, a public information officer with Central Kootenay Regional District.
RCMP officers from the Kootenay Boundary Regional Detachment and Kaslo Detachment are on scene, with support from RCMP Traffic Services, a helicopter from Kelowna, two police service dog teams, and an underwater rescue team, Moskaluk said.
A rescue team from Vancouver is also expected to arrive, according to Macpherson.
A landslide expert and a geotechnician are on the scene to determine the cause of the slide
With reports from The Canadian Press