KELOWNA, BC – For proof of just how powerful the landslides in British Columbia that destroyed three homes on Thursday are, ask journalist Mike Gill.
As his GlobalTV news crew arrived today in Johnsons Landing to document the devastation, a second slide crashed through the trees and into the lake as the cameras rolled.
“We all scrambled and just missed getting caught,” he said.
Another couple on the lakeshore had to jump into their boat to save themselves.
The GlobalTV team was reporting about rescue efforts to find four people missing after a wall of mud, water and trees razed three homes on Thursday morning.
Lynn Migdal, whose ex-husband and two daughters are missing, said there’s not enough being done.
“My family has been buried under the ground since 11 o’clock yesterday,” she told CBC from her Florida home. “I know that the conditions were not good enough. They had to evacuate, but I was promised that by 4:30 yesterday afternoon, as soon as there was light, that there would be dogs and people digging.”
Search teams called off efforts because of instability in the area.
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Rescue teams were waiting for geotechnical experts to help them assess the damage near Johnsons Landing, a tiny community of 35 people living a few hours southwest of Calgary.
Witnesses said they heard what sounded like heavy machinery Thursday morning, only to watch as the earth slid downhill.
“I’m in my house watching old-growth trees and boulders the size of my house flying past. And then going, ‘Oh God, if it comes any closer we are all going to die,’” Rachel Rozzoni told the Vancouver Sun.
She said neighbors tried to reach the three buried homes, but couldn’t traverse the unstable ground. Locals say a blocked creek likely led to the devastation.
Bill Wells, a retired town councilor and scientist, said friends told him debris had blocked a nearby creek.
“It looks like glacier of mud full of big trees that are broken and sticking out of it all the way down,” he told The Nelson Star. “All those big, green trees — this time of year the bark slips and breaks off very easily. It’s very unstable and it wants to keep moving.”
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