Woman discovered useless, others lacking after mudslide hits B.C. freeway

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Vancouver has been bring to a halt from the remainder of Canada by means of street after exceptional rainfall that noticed 20 puts throughout B.C. smash day-to-day data for precipitation

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RCMP say the body of a woman has been recovered from a landslide across Highway 99 near Lillooet, B.C., following historic rainfall as a search continues for others who may be buried in the debris.

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Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet said Tuesday the total number of people and vehicles unaccounted for has not yet been confirmed but investigators have received reports of two people who are missing.

We are asking anyone who was a witness to the event or believes their loved one is missing and has not yet been able to make contact with them to contact the Pemberton or Lillooet RCMP detachments, she said in a written statement.

David MacKenzie, manager of Pemberton District Search and Rescue, confirmed fatalities in the slide on Highway 99 about 42 kilometres south of Lillooet.

Our team was able to recover a couple of people so far but its still an ongoing situation and I cant really comment any further on that, he said, though it was not immediately clear if the woman confirmed dead by the RCMP was among those two victims.

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Crews were called to the slide around noon on Monday and the search is ongoing, MacKenzie said.

Several people were able to get out of their cars, he said, adding search conditions were challenging and heavy equipment would be needed to remove large debris blocking the way on the high stretch of mountain highway.

Its a lot of mud, debris, rock, trees, broken trees. When a mudslide comes down, its obviously very significant and involves slogging through mud, its quite difficult.

Meanwhile, Vancouver has been temporarily cut off from the rest of Canada by road after unprecedented rainfall that saw 20 places across British Columbia break daily records for precipitation.

As of Tuesday morning, highways 1, 7 and 99N have remained closed due to flooding and mudslides, trapping hundreds of people in their vehicles on the access routes and forcing others to hurriedly evacuate their homes in nearby communities.

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Throughout Monday evening, rescuers in helicopters airlifted to safety 275 people who had been stranded for more than 17 hours on Hwy. 7 between mudslides near Agassiz, B.C., about 120 km east of Vancouver.

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Rescue missions are also in place for motorists stranded by the flooding on Hwy 1 between between Sumas Way and Whatcom Road.

In a tweet on Monday afternoon, Drive BC stated that its officials were assessing the mudslide on Highway 99N, through which motorists can usually connect with the TransCanada highway in Kamloops after a circuitous drive through Squamish, Pemberton and the Rockies.

The mudslide, the website explains, has blocked the highway nine kilometres north of Pemberton to Lillooet, blocking off northern access to the rest of the country. As of Tuesday morning, it remained unclear when the road might reopen with traffic being routed on to the Westminister Highway.

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Which leaves Canadian motorists hoping to escape Vancouver into the rest of Canada with one choice take the southern route to the U.S. and back into Canada. However, that option comes with its own obstacles; Washington state has also had to close several highways due to flooding and those hoping to re-enter Canada from the U.S. would have to bring along a negative COVID-19 test.

Its a much more dire picture for people still stranded on the four roads in and out of Vancouver, stuck between mudslides and flooding with nothing to do but hope rescue crews soon find them. Rescuers on Tuesday, equipped with diggers and dogs, began dismantling large mounds of debris on Tuesday to find anyone left behind in cars trapped under the mudslides.

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If a bit of machinery contacts a vehicle or the dogs indicate a person, thats when we stop and dig by hand until we find what they were indicating, to confirm whether its a live victim or if its a recovery, Captain John Gormick of Vancouvers heavy urban search and rescue team told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

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Meanwhile, people in parts of Abbotsford and all of Merritt were ordered to evacuate as people scrambled to pack up their belongings and farmers helped each other move livestock to dry ground.

Canadian Pacific Rail said it was shutting its Vancouver main line because of the flooding.

Officials also havent been able to say when they can reopen the Coquihalla Highway, a major road connection between the B.C. Lower Mainland and the Interior, which has also suffered major mudslide damage.

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According to the Weather Network, heavy rainfall and flooding caused by an atmospheric river starting on Sunday triggered multiple mudslides across several highways and bridges in the province.

By the time the rainfall subsided on Monday afternoon, several areas in B.C. had received 100 to 250 mm of rainfall over 36 hours an amount usually seen throughout the entire month of November.

Strong winds gusting up to 90 km/h continued to blow through the province Monday night.

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With further recordsdata from The Canadian Press, Reuters

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