Update, May 8, 2:28 p.m.
The Salmon Arm RCMP have released the name of the man missing and presumed dead in the Sunnybrae landslide on May 6.
Roy Frederick Sharp, 76, is presumed deceased, although searchers have had no success in locating him.
Teams from Shuswap Search and Rescue and Vancouver Heavy Urban Search and Rescue Team have made attempts to search the extensively damaged residence without success.
“We have not located Mr. Sharp in or around the residence at this time, but we believe he has perished as a result of this natural disaster,” says RCMP Staff. Sgt Scott West.
The search has been hampered by unsafe conditions at the site. For safety reasons, a geotechnical expert is being used to help with the search effort. Two trained search dogs have also been brought in, but have not been able to indicate anything that could narrow the search area.
“The saturation level is so extreme that it is even difficult to walk on the surface in some places,” says West.
Members of the Sharp family have visited the area and West says they now have an appreciation for scope of the disaster and the risk to personnel.
“They are understandably upset and we are trying to provide them with supports.”
West says in places the mud is very deep, estimating that at the roadway there is mud between six and eight feet in depth, and even greater at the site of the Sharp residence, which was knocked completely off its foundation.
The evacuation orders remain in place for the foreseeable future. There is also no estimate on how long it will take to restore the road to a useable condition. It is not known how many people were on the far side of the slide. Boat access is currently the only way around the slide area. There are approximately 100 homes cut off from road access, although many of them are seasonal residences.
Update, May 8, 9:35 a.m.
The RCMP tweeted that the search for the missing 76-year-old man presumed buried in the mudslide is now being considered a recovery effort.
Update, May 7, 11:37 a.m.
According to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD), the Vancouver Heavy Urban Search and Rescue Team called off the search due to darkness at approximately 10 p.m. last night and planned to resume searching at 8 a.m. this morning.
Sunnybrae Canoe Point Road remains closed between the addresses 5866 and 5948. Residents living beyond the landslide area still do not have road access to their homes and are not being allowed to drive through the evacuation zone at this time.
Update, Sunday, May 7 at 6 a.m.
Members of an elite Vancouver Heavy Urban Search and Rescue Team known as Canada Task Force One have been called to the Shuswap to aid in the search for a missing 76-year-old man.
The man’s house was completely enveloped by mud and debris from the slide in the 5900 block of Sunnybrae Canoe Point Road at midnight on May 6.
The team, which includes crew members and a specially trained search dog, will be continuing the effort at the property today.
The task force rescues victims from major structural collapses and other hazards.
It is one of four heavy urban search and rescue teams able to deploy anywhere in Canada, and the only Canadian team certified to deploy around the world by the coordinator for UN Emergency Response.
Update 1:23 p.m.
The Columbia Shuswap Regional District has now issued a formal evacuation order as a result of a landslide in the 5900 Block of Sunnybrae Canoe Point Road, Tappen.
The Shuswap Emergency Program has activated an Emergency Operations Centre in support of the incident.
The RCMP are on site in the evacuation zone to secure the area.
Ryan Nitchie, Emergency Operations Centre Public Information Officer, told the Observer earlier today that the evacuation order applies to 13 properties in the slide area.
Sunnybrae Canoe Point Road will remain closed in both directions from addresses 5866 to 5948 until further notice.
Members of the public are advised to please remain away from the area. Residents living beyond the landslide area will not be able to travel through the Evacuation Zone at this time.
The slide has blocked access to approximately 100 homes.
Update 11:58 p.m.
The RCMP are confirming a 76-year-old male resident of Sunnybrae Canoe Point Road is missing after a landslide in Sunnybrae.
“We can confirm to date that we have spoken to the family of the 76-year-old male resident, who was last known to be inside the home. The Salmon Arm RCMP has activated resources from the Shuswap Search and Rescue team, Tappen and Salmon Arm Fire Departments. As of this morning the Columbia Shuswap Regional District representatives began assessing the situation in order to safely access and make entry into the home to search for the man,” says RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk.
The RCMP confirmed that one home was completely enveloped by the overnight mudslide, with the possibility of others being partially damaged.
The slide has blocked access to approximately 100 homes.
Update at 11:16 a.m.
The CSRD is confirming one person remains unaccounted for after the midnight landslide May 6 and the evacuation order is going to be expanded to a wider area.
Ryan Nitchie, Emergency Operations Centre Public Information Officer, says a search has yet to be completed on the property where the person was known to reside as a risk assessment of the site is currently underway.
“Once that assessment is completed and we have the information, we will be coordinating a search and rescue team to search that site,” says Nitchie.
Plans are also underway to expand the evacuation area within the next hour to include 13 properties in the are of the 5900 block of Sunnybrae Canoe Point Road.
“After the tactical evacuation last night and we get the reports from the geotechnical evaluations, we will be making a determination of an evacuation order and setting up a reception centre for those affected,” says Nitchie.
The CSRD is urging people to stay out of the Sunnybrae area, both on the road and on Shuswap Lake.
The road is closed and traffic control personnel will be turning people back if they attempt to get into the area.
“We’d also like any boat traffic to stay away from the area, as the site is still volatile and we may need water access for the geotechnical people to evaluate the slope and do their work,” adds Nitchie.
It is not known how many people may be stranded on the far side of the slide area, which is due to the fact that many of the residences are seasonal and may not be occupied.
Updated at 7:19 a.m.
Another landslide has taken place in the Sunnybrae area overnight, some residents have been forced to evacuate and there are unconfirmed reports one person may be missing.
The slide occurred at approximately midnight on Saturday, May 6 in the 5900 block of Sunnybrae Canoe Point Road.
“The RCMP is on scene and a precautionary tactical evacuation of homes within the area is being conducted,” says a CSRD news release issued at 3:30 a.m. Saturday morning.
Sunnybrae Canoe Point Road has been impacted by the slide and is closed from approximately the 5800 block to the 6000 block address of Sunnybrae Canoe Point Road.
“There are unconfirmed reports that one of the residents in the slide area has not been accounted for,” says Ben Van Nostrand, director of the Emergency Operations Centre for the Columbia Shuswap Regional District. “We will be doing reconnaissance and safety work this morning to confirm whether everyone has been accounted for.”
Van Nostrand says before this can happen, the area must be assessed to ensure the safety of all personnel who enter the slide area.
“We will be making that happen today. Now that it is light and we can get on the ground, we can do some assessments.”
Reports also indicate two or three homes have been destroyed by the slide, although this has also not been officially confirmed, as crews were not allowed to enter the area through the night due to the potential threat to their safety.
Van Nostrand did say approximately eight residences were evacuated with the assistance of the RCMP.
Traffic is not able to pass through the slide area at this time and members of the public are advised to remain away from the area.
The road is the sole access point for residents. It is not yet known how many people are stranded on the other side of the slide.
Emergency crews will further assess the slide area as soon possible in the daylight hours.
This is the second slide to this the area in a number of weeks. A slide in the 4400 block of Sunnybrae Canoe Point Road on April 7 destroyed two homes and forced the evacuation of four properties. Two of those properties have remained under evacuation order ever since. The other two were placed on evacuation alert.
Residents who have left their homes and require Emergency Support Services are advised to contact the ESS directly at 250-517-8071 directly for further assistance.
More to come as information becomes available.