Deadly mudslides in British Columbia after weekend rainstorm

Written by Meredith Mirilli for CNN One person is dead and three others have been hospitalized after the weekend mudslides that swept through a Canadian logging town. The rain, which struck some areas as…

Deadly mudslides in British Columbia after weekend rainstorm

Written by Meredith Mirilli for CNN

One person is dead and three others have been hospitalized after the weekend mudslides that swept through a Canadian logging town.

The rain, which struck some areas as much as 3.5 inches per hour, sparked the deaths and prompted evacuation in the small community of Grand Forks, where there are approximately 1,000 residents.

The town, located in British Columbia’s central Interior, was previously declared a disaster zone due to the flooding after this month’s heavy rains, according to CNN partner CBC News.

A woman is died after the avalanche triggered by a giant landslide in British Columbia in early September. Credit: Patrick Doyle

Local media reported that the first victim of the weekend slides was 67-year-old Mackenzie Sommerfeldt, who was swept away in the rushing water and mud of the Mud Lake flooding. The Ministry of Emergency Measures said Saturday that a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s territorial patrol was forced to make a desperate dive to save the woman, but she was dead.

The ministry said it had another two people unaccounted for; one was missing in the town while the other was in the Minnville area and possibly trapped in a vehicle.

The landslide destroyed up to 10 homes, washed out a bridge and turned a nearby dirt highway into a body of water on Saturday. CNN affiliate CBC reported that the mudslide swept away mud-covered people.

Grand Forks Mayor Dana Veilleux said Saturday evening that after the first storm, water drains in the area were blocked by debris that washed off highways.

The area has already been in an emergency for the past couple of weeks, prompting 50 people to be evacuated at the start of September, Veilleux said. A bridge over the Jamieson River has also been washed out and houses nearby are flooded, the mayor said.

“When the rain came through, we were hit hard,” Veilleux said. “The last couple of days we’ve seen some residual work that we have to do.”

Veilleux said the town and provincial governments are staying on top of the situation and it is too early to speculate about any long-term infrastructure damage.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs said a man in his 20s had been transferred to Vancouver General Hospital with life-threatening injuries after being rescued from mudslides on Saturday morning.

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