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UPDATE (as of Friday, 11:01 a.m.): Search suspended due to slope instability

Thursday's mudslide at Johnson Landing flowed down to Kootenay Lake.

Updated Friday, 11:01 a.m.

The search has been suspended for four people possibly trapped under the massive debris pile caused by a landslide in Johnsons Landing yesterday.

Regional District of Central Kootenay Emergency Operations Centre spokesman Bill Macpherson said there are plenty of people and resources to conduct the search, but it's just not safe to continue.

"Because of the ongoing instability of the slide and the potential for more slides, the search suspended - it's too unsafe with things the way they are he said," adding only nine people ultimately chose to be evacuated and the remaining population is still without power, and may yet have to be evacuated as the situation evolves.

He said a geo-technician and other experts are on site trying to resolve the safety issues.

Although names have not yet been officially released, Lynn Migdal, ex-wife of Valentine Webber and mother of Rachel and Diana Webber, has put out a public plea for prayers, and for the search to continue.

The name of the fourth person missing, believed to be a German National who frequents the Johnson Landing area, has not been officially released.

Macpherson says the HUSAR (Heavy Urban Search and Rescue) team from Vancouver is bringing in more people in an attempt to further rescue and/or recovery efforts.

Updated Friday, 9:11 a.m.

The four people missing in Thursday's massive mudslide at Johnson Landing north of Kaslo, three are from a family and one is a German National.

The people where in houses destroyed by the morning mudslide down that thundered down Gar Creek and dispersedm debris over a wide area of the quiet North Kootenay Lake community.

The missing  members of the family are a father and his two daughters, believed to be 17- and 22-years-old.

The fourth person is a German National that lives in Johnson Landing for part of the year.

Updated Friday, 6:15 a.m.

The search for the four unaccounted for people at Johnsons Landing mudslide resumed early Friday following a briefing meeting.

Kaslo Search and Rescue, Nelson Search and Rescue, Kootenay Boundary RCMP and provincial and Regional District of Central Kootenay emergency responders have been joined by the Vancouver-based HUSAR (Heavy Urban Search and Rescue) reconnaissance team to conduct the search.

A landslide expert and geo-technicians are also on site to assist in the search —  based on best information— believed to be four people.

A state of local emergency continues for the Johnsons Landing area of Area D.

Emergency Social Services is assisting residents, some of whom have been evacuated to Kaslo.

The landslide struck shortly after 11 a.m. Thursday, cutting off the only road into Johnsons Landing.

The cause remains unknown at this time.

Johnsons Landing is a small, remote community on the northeast shore of Kootenay Lake in the West Kootenay region of southeast British Columbia.

Updated Thursday, 8:08 p.m.:

Search crews worked into the evening to locate four missing people from Thursday’s massive mudslide at Johnsons Landing, Bill Macpherson of the Regional District of Central Kootenay Emergency Operations Centre said.

“Crews will search until it’s too dark and will resume at first light,” Macpherson said late Thursday.

The EOC spokesperson said the slide at Gar Creek destroyed four homes in Johnsons Landing with several other residences very close to the edge of the debris field.

All of the more-than-30 residents of Johnsons Landing were evacuated to the Johnson Landing community hall, Argenta and some to Kaslo.

Food and water was provided by the RDCK.

Environment Canada is forecasting rain for the weekend but Macpherson said none of the rescue teams would be in danger during the search for the missing people.

“There’s a moderate to low risk for crews searching or working in the area of the slide,” he said.

Geotechnical engineers and water stewards were flown over the slide area Thursday by helicopter to view and assess the slide.

A state of local emergency has now been declared in Area D.

Updated Thursday, 5:36 p.m.:

EZ Rock radio is reporting that RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk says RCMP officers from the Kootenay Boundary Regional Detachment and Kaslo Detachment are on scene with support provided by RCMP Traffic Services, Southeast District Air Services Helicopter from Kelowna, two police service dog teams, and Underwater Recovery Dive team.

Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall says if anyone is unsure how to reach family/friends in the area, call her office at 1-877-388-4498.Nelson RCMP are coordinating an emergency shelter.

Searchers remain unsure whether four unaccounted-for residents were at home at the time of the slide.

Updated 4:49 p.m.:

A state of local emergency has been declared for the Johnsons Landing area of Area D, according to RDCK Emergency Operations Centre spokesman Bill Macpherson, who said three homes have been "severely impacted".

He said the slide initiated from Gar Creek shortly after 11 a.m. and that the cause is unknown at this time. 

"A landslide expert, additional emergency responders and geotechnical staff are en route by helicopter to the remote community."

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Four people are unaccounted for, one house has been directly hit and two others impacted, and the entire village is without power after a landslide late this morning in Johnsons Landing, according to RDCK Emergency Operations Centre spokesman Bill Macpherson.

The slide has also cut off access to the remote community, which is home to about 35 people.

"Nelson and Kaslo Search and Rescue, Kaslo RCMP, RDCK fire chief Terry Swan and other RDCK staff are on site, and a geo-technician and landslide expert are en route," he said.

Search dogs and Search and Rescue teams are being deployed looking for survivors after a massive landslide this morning in Johnson's Landing, at the north end of Kootenay Lake.

"It was quite a large landslide," Macpherson said, adding it may take a long time to shift the debris in search of survivors. "It could take a considerable amount of time, given it's size."

Macpherson also said he didn't know if search efforts could continue throughout the night, or if they would have to be called off when darkness sets in.

"That will have to be determined by the incident commander."

The Source learned at roughly 3:30 p.m. that Trowelex crews are en route with emergency lighting, portable washrooms and other equipment so search crews can continue working after dark. 

Johnson's Landing has been plagued in recent months with natural disasters and weather-related phenomenon, from an avalanche last winter to flooding last month, to this morning's landslide.