NELSON (NEWS1130) -UPDATE 12:03AM – Landslide search expected to resume at daybreak.

In spite of the ongoing debris movement and continued slope instability, the search is back on for four people who may have been caught in that massive landslide in Johnsons Landing. 

Earlier today geotechnical assessments were completed and Bill MacPherson with the Central Kootenay Regional District  had said the land was unsafe.

“There’s still considerable movement, material coming down so there’s been no resumption of activity on the ground due to safety concerns for responders, ” says MacPherson.

Emergency responders are using heavy equipment at one of the homes severely damaged in the slide, and they are equipped with avalanche beacons and transmitters for safety reasons.

MacPherson says experts continue to evaluate what he refers to as a “devastating situation.”

No word on when boots and shovels can hit the ground to remove all the muck and rocks that poured over three homes possibly trapping people, but he says more help has been called in for when rescue efforts can get started.
In the meantime, a mother in Florida who’s worried her family is caught in the slide is praying that will happen soon.

Members of Vancouver’s Heavy Urban Search and Rescue team are there to support the search and rescue efforts at the Johnsons Landing slide. They include a VPD officer who is a technical search specialist, a rescue squad leader from Vancouver Fire, an engineer from the City’s engineering department, and a paramedic.

Additional HUSAR crews are arriving and will be deployed as long as the search area is deemed safe by geotechnical staff.

Richard Ortega with Johnson’s Landing Retreat Centre heard the slide around 10:30 a.m. yesterday. “When all of a sudden, we heard this massive rumble on the mountain — kind of up above us — and off to the North, and it got louder and louder and louder and the ground shook”

Ortega says the slide went all the way down to a lake. “It must have taken maybe 30 seconds at the most, for it to travel all the way down the mountain.

He hopped in the pick-up truck to see the slide for himself and eventually got into a canoe and paddled to the north side of the slide.

“We came to a wall of debris, which was probably 20 feet tall and made of broken trees and mud. We got out and climbed up the bank and all we could find was basically the roof of the house, the rest was lodged underneath,” he describes.

Ortega has since found out that luckily, his friends were not home at the time of the slide. However, four people are still unaccounted for.

Macpherson says it is unclear if the people were away from their homes at the time of the slide or if they were inside.

“RCMP and search and rescue emergency responders on the site are trying to determine if they were in the community or where in their homes. We don’t know that information,” he explains.

Macpherson tells us there’s no cellular phone service in the remote area, so they haven’t been able to reach the residents whose homes were impacted.
An emergency operations centre is set up in the city of Nelson. It is not known what triggered the slide.

Johnsons Landing remains inaccessible by road.