Vancouver fire chief John McKearney working with Canada Task Force one to deploy to the Johnsons Landing landslide on Saturday morning.

Missing Johnsons Landing residents could be buried under at least five metres of debris: Numan

At least five metres of debris could be covering the home of the four missing Johnsons Landing residents.

Canada Task Force 1 is back at Johnsons Landing this afternoon after beginning deployment late this morning.

Bad weather including thunder showers and heavy rain were caused delays to an early morning start, but crews are working on the area where they believe the lower levels of the house where the missing people were last seen.

Vancouver fire chief John McKearney said teams are currently focusing all their work on the one house.

RCMP Sg. Darryl Little said the crews have been working under the information they received about the location of the individuals, but have conflicting information that one person may have been at a separate house.

“We are not discounting that that person may have been in their own home, that’s why the grid search will continue all the way up to that other person’s residence,” said Little.

Even though crews are well into their second day on the ground officials are still optimistic and believe they are still operating a rescue mission and not a recovery.

“We’ve got crews on the ground but unfortunately due to the weather on the ground the staging area was compromised by down trees and powerlines,” said Whitney Numan with Buckley Valley Search and Rescue this morning. “We’re now longer able to stage from there so we’re reassessing where we can relocate. We’ve been working with geo-techs about where and when it’s safe to get on the site.”

McKearney –  who is working with Canada Task Force 1 – said his crew was one site for six hours yesterday and was able to learn a lot.

“This morning, the weather didn’t help, but teams have refined their plans and they are preparing now for three squads to get into the slide by helicopter,” said McKearney this morning.

Helicopters have been flying out of the Kaslo all afternoon and crews are on the site continuing the rescue mission.

“As far as the actual house, we have not located the foundation yet, hopefully with the maps the regional district is providing we will be able to access that and start looking in that immediate vicinity,” said Numan.

The roof – which is believed to have been pushed at least 40 metres its original location – has been searched by crews and they did not locate any of the four missing people.

“The initial operation will be a grid search to up to where we were working yesterday,” said McKearney. “It is challenging to find the remnants besides the top floor and the roof and using the information from GPS and really just doing the best we can, is the operation right now.”

There are about 24 members of Canada Task Force 1 working, primarily using hand tools like axes, shovels and picks, to locate the missing people.

According to Numan, there is as much as five metres of debris, including rocks, mud, and trees, covering where they believe the house is located.

Helicopters continue to move responders in and out of Johnsons Landing, but there is still no word on the residents who have been missing since Thursday morning.

 

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