Torrential rain, floods and mudslides cut Vancouver off from rest of Canada by road
RCMP say the body of a woman has been recovered from a landslide across Highway 99 near Lillooet, B.C., following historic rainfall as a search continues for others who may be buried in the debris.
Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet said Tuesday the total number of people and vehicles unaccounted for has not yet been confirmed but investigators have received reports of two people who are missing.
“We are asking anyone who was a witness to the event or believes their loved one is missing and has not yet been able to make contact with them to contact the Pemberton or Lillooet RCMP detachments,” she said in a written statement.
David MacKenzie, manager of Pemberton District Search and Rescue, confirmed fatalities in the slide on Highway 99 about 42 kilometres south of Lillooet.
Crews were called to the slide around noon on Monday and the search is ongoing, MacKenzie said.
Several people were able to get out of their cars, he said, adding search conditions were challenging and heavy equipment would be needed to remove large debris blocking the way on the high stretch of mountain highway.
“It’s a lot of mud, debris, rock, trees, broken trees. When a mudslide comes down, it’s obviously very significant and involves slogging through mud, it’s quite difficult.”
Meanwhile, Vancouver has been temporarily cut off from the rest of Canada by road after unprecedented rainfall that saw 20 places across British Columbia break daily records for precipitation.
As of Tuesday morning, highways 1, 7 and 99N have remained closed due to flooding and mudslides, trapping hundreds of people in their vehicles on the access routes and forcing others to hurriedly evacuate their homes in nearby communities.