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Four Missing From British Columbia Town With Population of Only 35 After Massive Landslide


"...I’m looking down at my neighbour’s house and it’s covered in rubble and only the chimney is sticking out."

One of three homes buried in the muck. (Photo: CTV/BC/HO; Canadian Press via Vancouver Sun)

Rescue teams in the small community of Johnson's Landing in British Columbia -- population only 35 -- are on the hunt for four missing people after an avalanche rolled through the town and destroyed three homes.

The Vancouver Sun reports Rachel Rozzoni's account of the landslide that occurred on Thursday:

Rozzoni thought the strange, rumbling sound above her home in tiny Johnsons Landing on Kootenay Lake was the sound of heavy equipment that had fallen over at a home where some trees were being cut down.

Then the windows and glasses in the house started shaking.

The rumbling turned into a massive landslide that officials say has destroyed at least three houses in the southern Interior community and led to a search for four possible victims who may be buried in the debris.

“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,’” Rozzoni said Thursday evening.

“And then I’m looking down at my neighbour’s house and it’s covered in rubble and only the chimney is sticking out. And the other half of the house is down further, and just part of it sticking out.”

Rozzoni described the landslides destruction as the size of several football fields. Richard Ortega was reported as saying the event only lasted 45 seconds.

Watch this raw footage of the destruction:

The hunt for the missing persons was called off Thursday night due to volatile conditions of the land but resumed Friday morning. CBC News reports helicopters, search dogs, underwater recovery divers, a landslide expert and geotechnician were helping in the search and assessment of the landslide.

"I think everybody is realistic that the odds of survivability for the individuals that were in the direct path [of the landslide] …are not that great," said RCMP Cpl. Dan  Moskaluk to CBC News. "So realistically, we are looking at possibly a recovery operation. But again, we never lose hope."

Still, Lisa Taylor, 22, said some of her best friends are among those missing and she hopes there "is a chance they are still alive."

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