Canadian authorities search for survivors after landslides

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Canadian authorities search for survivors after landslides

Canadian authorities are frantically searching for trapped or buried motorists after unprecedented torrential rains caused widespread flooding and massive landslides — with thousands already evacuated.

Search teams are using dogs in their search for motorists after portions of highways in British Columbia were shut down by the landslides and two of Canada’s largest railroads were brought to a halt, according to reports.

“If a bit of machinery contacts a vehicle or the dogs indicate a person, that’s when we stop and … dig by hand until we find what they were indicating, to confirm whether it’s a live victim or if it’s a recovery,” Vancouver search team Capt. John Gormick said, according to Reuters.

Officials said up to 8 inches of rain pelted portions of the province in 48 hours — the same amount of rainfall that typically falls over the course of the entire month.

A car sinking into a flood zone on a highway
British Columbia received up to 8 inches of rain in 48 hours, resulting in widespread flooding and transit shutdowns. Here, a stranded vehicle is subsumed on the side of a major highway.
Jennifer Gauthier/REUTERS

One local resident, Ryan Yeadon, posted a dramatic YouTube video of floodwaters surrounding his Merritt home shortly before he had to be rescued by boat.

On Tuesday, officials ordered the evacuation of parts of Abbotsford near Vancouver, one day after 8,000 were ordered to clear out of Merritt about 120 miles to the northeast.

Also on Monday, about 275 people were evacuated by helicopter — among them 50 children and 20 dogs — after getting trapped in landslides between Hope and Agassiz, according to a report by the Toronto Star.

“There were some very heavy winds and some very challenging conditions,” Dave Boone, director of a local search-and-rescue task force, told the outlet.

Search and rescue personnel help flood evacuees disembark from a helicopter. Searches for survivors remain ongoing.
Search and rescue personnel help flood evacuees disembark from a helicopter on Monday.
The Canadian Press via AP

“Today we’re going to get up to go back to the Agassiz area to assess the slide there,” he said. “We’re concerned that there could be trapped vehicles and we just want to do a final assessment as far as if there are any viable rescues or if there are any recoveries.”

More than 20 emergency operations centers were open in the southern part of British Columbia, while more than 125,000 utility customers lost power at the peak of the storm, the Globe and Mail reported.

Authorities have not released numbers on any fatalities due to the storms.

With Post wires

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