JOHNSONS LANDING (NEWS1130) – Dozens of search crew members will be back at the site of that massive landslide in Johnsons Landing to look for four people still unaccounted for.

RCMP Corporal Dan Moskaluk says eight people in the community of 35 have refused to leave.

“There’s a certain amount of risk if they stay there. If authorities and experts are [directing] people to the best of their knowledge and expertise that there’s some risk involved in them staying in that area… you can only do so much to make them leave,” he explains.

There were a few setbacks yesterday after thunderstorms. Yesterday, Rescuers focused on two houses where they hoped to find the missing people.

“It will be a grid style (search) with two squads of the heavy urban search and rescue guys working,” says Bill Macpherson with the Central Kootenay Regional District.

He adds they’re doing their best, despite having their command post damaged.

“[It] seems it’s one thing after another, but they had a staging site set up on the north side of the slide and that thunderstorm knocked down trees and power lines, and has made it temporarily unusable,” explains Macpherson.

The downed trees mean rescuers have to access the site by boat or helicopter.

The missing still include Valentine Webber, and his two grown daughters, Rachel and and Diana, along with a female German tourist.

The massive pile of debris to be searched is about three to five metres deep.

Joe Chirico, Director of Emergency Operations, says the road access to Johnsons Landing will be blocked for over a week and power is still out for those who haven’t evacuated the area. “BC Hydro is staged in Kaslo, but it hasn’t been deemed safe for them to enter.”

Richard Ortega with Johnsons Landing Retreat says a spotter is keeping an eye on the slope to make sure crews are safe. “They have a piece of machinery in there… and a crew that specializes in working on damaged buildings is investigating the situation.”

He adds crews are taking precautions to make sure they don’t get caught up in another slide. “They posted a hydrologist up on the bank, way up the creek, so that he could monitor the situation and then post a warning in case they have to abandon the search.”

Someone may have tried to warn province slide was coming

There may have been an attempt to warn the government of a potential hazard before Thursday’s landslide in the Kootenays.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources received an email about water pooling, but no one read it until after the slide happened.

“Tonight we can confirm that an email was received by the ministry on the morning of the slide. It is our understanding that the email was not opened until after the landslide occurred,” reads a brief statement from Minister Steve Thomson.

Thomson says on Thursday, “the slide was reported to government at 10:56 a.m. We dispatched staff within 30 minutes.”

“Right now our number one concern is for those families, and that’s what we’re concentrating on,” he adds.