Three homes at Johnsons Landing, in the Kootenays, 756 kilometres east of Vancouver B.C. were destroyed in a landslide on July 12, 2012. Police were uncertain if anyone was trapped in the homes that were crushed in the debris that swept down a mountainside and residents reported several people were unaccounted for.
Credits: Aerial photos submitted (purchased from BCCTV)
VANCOUVER -- Several residents of a village near a massive landslide that destroyed three homes in the Kootenays were unaccounted for Thursday.
Kaslo RCMP, along with Mounties from nearby detachments, responded to the 10.30 a.m. slide at Johnsons Landing, about 756 kilometers east of Vancouver.
Resident Richard Ortega said the slide swept down Gar Creek, flattening the houses on Holgren Road and blocking access to Johnsons Landing.
From the air, the homes were broken into many pieces, mostly buried beneath earth and trees that swept down the mountainside.
"The ground started to rumble and we heard (the slide) come down behind us," said Ortega, director of Johnson's Landing Retreat Centre Ltd., a business situated about a half kilometre north of the slide.
"The whole process took maybe max 45 seconds before it plunged into the Kootenay Lake."
He added the slide happened near a small village of about 35 residents and 20 houses on the east side of Kootenay Lake. Neighbours went to the area affected and tried to help, desperately working to try and uncover anyone buried.
Running water and power were cut off.
Kaslo RCMP activated a search-and-rescue team, with helicopters, search dogs and underwater recovery dive experts.
"The RCMP has immediately engaged a large number of resources to address the first priority of conduct a search and rescue of the affected residents," Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said in a statement.
A press time, Mounties were still trying to confirm reports that several residents were missing.