A massive landslide destroyed three homes Thursday in Johnsons Landing, BC, on Thursday, July 12, 2012. Four people are missing.
Credits: aerial photos submitted (BCCTV)
Crews remain hopeful in their search through mud and downed trees for four people who are believed to be buried in a massive landslide in southeastern British Columbia.
But more rain is forecasted in the remote Johnsons Landing area, where the slide destroyed three homes Thursday.
"You've got to remain optimistic. But the passage of time is never a good thing in instances like this," said Bill Macpherson Saturday afternoon, spokesman for the Regional District of Central Kootenay.
Diana Webber, 21, Rachel Webber, 17, and their father, Valentine Webber, 60, are unaccounted for, RCMP confirmed Saturday. Petra Freshe, 64, a German national, is also missing.
A severe storm delayed the search Saturday morning due to instability and visibility concerns, however geotechnicians in a helicopter later determined rescuers could proceed with the search that's focused on two homes.
"They're trying to pinpoint the lower section of (the Webber) house in the hope that they will find it and find people alive in the basement portion," Macpherson said.
Homes and the forest were left in ruins by a landslide that crashed down a mountainside and into the small community on Kootenay Lake, leaving several metres of downed trees and mud in its wake.
"This is a major catastrophe, one that is hard to comprehend," Greg Lay, the mayor of the nearby community of Kaslo, said in a statement Saturday night. "All of us are helping in any way we can for those impacted by the landslide."
About 70 RCMP officers and other rescue workers are on scene and planned to work until dusk.
Search efforts will resume Sunday morning if it is safe to do so, Macpherson said.
Three search dogs are also sniffing through the debris.
Downed trees and powerlines have blocked the only road to the site, making it accessible only by helicopter or boat.
BC Premier Christy Clark offered government support following the tragedy.