Four missing after slide hits Canadian mountain village

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 13, 2012 4:50 PM

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Four people remained missing on Friday after a landslide swept through the remote village of Johnsons Landing deep in the mountainous interior of the Canadian province of British Columbia.

The Thursday morning slide wiped out three homes in the village, 455 kilometers (282 miles) east of Vancouver in the Selkirk Mountains. Police and search and rescue officials are at the scene but rescue efforts have been stayed because of the threat of new slides from the rain-soaked slopes.

"There is no activity on the ground right now," said Bill Macpherson, a spokesman for the Central Kootenay Regional District government. "Geotechnicians and a landslide expert are flying over to look at the slope and when it is safe for emergency responders to go in, that will happen."

Melting snow from a heavy winter snow pack on the mountains and record amounts of rain have hit hard in central British Columbia, threatening to overwhelm dams, washing out roads and raising water in the 104-kilometer-long (65-mile) Kootenay Lake to the highest level in 40 years.

The cause of the slide is not yet known, but the district government said it began near a rain-swollen creek.

The remaining residents of the village of 35 have been evacuated to nearby communities.

(Reporting by Scott Haggett; Editing by Peter Galloway)