Mudslide deaths in Canada after heavy rains

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The body of a woman was found in one of the mudslides caused by extremely heavy rains in Canada’s Pacific coast province of British Columbia, authorities said on Tuesday.

Police said search and rescue personnel continued to search for other possible victims of Monday’s slides.

David MacKenzie, the Pemberton District search and rescue official, said his team encountered seven vehicles at the site of the Highway 99 landslide near the town of Lillooet and police were trying to determine whether there were other bodies.

“It’s a significant amount of debris. This complicates the task of our research teams. The mud is up to their waist. I don’t remember our team having been involved in something like this in the past, ”he said.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Staff Sergeant. Janelle Shoihet said the total number of people and vehicles missing had not yet been confirmed. She said investigators had received reports of two other people missing, but added that other motorists may have been buried in the slide.

Jonathan Gormick, spokesperson for the Vancouver Heavy Urban Search and Rescue Team, said that even if the pavement had been cleared of potentially trapped vehicles or people, they would now search the toboggan’s debris field.

About 300 people spent Sunday evening in their vehicles and were flown by helicopter to safety on Monday.

Elsewhere in the province, Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said impassable highways were wreaking havoc in his town as police and firefighters tried to get people to evacuation centers.

“It breaks my heart to see what’s going on in our city,” Braun said.

Sunny skies followed two days of torrential storms that dumped the typical amount of rain the city receives throughout November, but the mayor said the water was still rising and Route 1 would be cut for a while. time.

Braun said he was concerned that he would get enough information from Washington state officials about the water levels that have risen significantly due to the overflow of the Nooksack River and Sumas Dyke.

“When are we going to crest?” When is it going to stabilize here? It’s like a full cup of coffee. Once it is full, it continues to sink to the sides, ”he said.

Abbotsford Police Chief Mike Serr said officers removed some people from the roofs of flooded cars on Monday night but left some motorists in semi-trucks because they were over high above the water.

“I was there last night. You couldn’t see where the side of the road was. We had a member put on a life jacket and swim towards a car that was overturned to pick someone up. And that was steadily for about two hours, ”Serr said.

About 1,100 homes had been evacuated in Abbotsford, adding to others in various parts of British Columbia, including Merritt, where the entire town of 7,000 people was forced to vacate after the system failed. sanitation.

Several roads have been closed due to flooding or landslides, including sections of Highway 1A, Highway 3, Highway 5, Highway 11, Highway 12, and from highway 91.

(PA)

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