Death toll in B.C. mudslide rises to four; a fifth person still missing

LISA Lapointe, Chief Coroner, said in a statement on Saturday that four bodies have now been recovered from the mudslide at Duffy Lake, while attempts to locate a fifth person reported as missing have been unsuccessful.

Lapointe said: “Over the past five days, a small team of forensic coroners has worked alongside law enforcement and search and rescue professionals to try to locate people who were reported missing after the extreme rainfall event and subsequent mudslide near Duffy Lake.

“One person was located deceased on Monday, November 15. On Wednesday, November 17, the team recovered another deceased individual, and two additional decedents were recovered on Thursday, November 18.”

She added: “Efforts continued Friday, November 19 to locate a fifth person reported as missing, but unfortunately those attempts were unsuccessful.”

Lapointe said: “Despite incredibly challenging conditions, the dedication and teamwork demonstrated by everyone involved in the search are a testament to the professionalism of each organization, and I wish to recognize the significant efforts of our partners throughout this difficult time.”

MEANWHILE, the BC RCMP said in a statement that the search at the Duffy Lake area slide continued on Friday and the bodies of three men have now been recovered.

The RCMP has been working closely with EMBC, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, BC Coroners Service and the Pemberton and Lillooet Search and Rescue teams to locate, extract and conclusively identify the three men and notify their next of kin.

“These three men were amongst those whom we confirmed were missing earlier this week,” said Staff-Sgt. Janelle Shoihet.

“We have been continuing the search for one more man, however search efforts have been hampered by weather and site conditions. Our thoughts continue to be with all of those who have been impacted in this terrible tragedy.”

Search efforts, which included a police service dog, continued throughout the remainder of Friday morning but have now since concluded. All current search efforts have been exhausted and discussions are underway as to how and when it would be best to proceed.

The area remains closed to motorists and there is no timeline with respect to when the roadway may be open. The RCMP encourage the public to continue to monitor DriveBC for the most up to date information.