Up to 10 people believed trapped in mudslide that swept across B.C. highway

November 15, 2021
Up to 10 people believed trapped in mudslide that swept across B.C. highway

A specialized search and rescue team is responding to mudslides on the highway between Agassiz and Hope, B.C., after reports that drivers have been trapped in their vehicles.

The Heavy Urban Search and Rescue Task Force, a highly specialized team trained to rescue people from major collapses, has been deployed to Highway 7 near Agassiz.

Vancouver fire Chief Karen Fry said there are potentially people and vehicles trapped in the slide. 

Several mudslides closed the highway near Agassiz on Sunday evening after more than a day of heavy rain.

Dozens of drivers pulled over to the side of the highway after the hillside and road in front of them slid into the valley below. Adam Wuisman and his fiancée were stranded, with one landslide in front of them and another behind.

“Down in the valley, you can actually hear honking and yelling for help,” he told CBC News by phone during an interview from the car.

“We must’ve just missed the first [slide] and now we’re between both of them…. There’s probably about 200, 300 vehicles pulled over, waiting for some kind of update.”

‘I don’t think they can get here’

Wuisman, who was driving home to Richmond, B.C., from Nelson, said he hadn’t seen any first responders on scene after three hours stuck on the road. 

“I don’t think they can get here,” he said.

The Upper Fraser Valley RCMP and Agassiz Fire Department were not immediately available for comment.

A rainstorm battering the region Sunday has also sparked flooding, mudslides and evacuations in Abbotsford, B.C., and highway closures across the province.

Drive B.C. confirmed two mudslides on Highway 7 between Agassiz and Hope, B.C. One slide was at Ruby Creek, the provincial agency tweeted, and another not far away at Mt. Woodside.

The highways contractor for the Fraser Valley, Emil Anderson Maintenance, said crews were working to free vehicles trapped between slides. No injuries had been reported so far, the company tweeted Sunday evening.

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