VANCOUVER â€” Separate searches for two British Columbia men believed to have been swept away by mud or water have been scaled back to recovery efforts.
Searchers said Monday they couldn’t find any signs of a 76-year-old man from the community of Tappen after a mudslide tore through his lake shore home on Saturday.
RCMP Staff Sgt. Scott West identified the man as Roy Sharp and said the family was “understandably upset” by the news that the search was reclassified from a rescue to a recovery operation.
He said the slide “moved the house from its foundation” and it remains “almost impossible” for crews to walk on the surface of the slide.
“We’re being forced to pull back due to the substantial danger levels in the area and instability as a result of the mudslide,” West said.
The slide on Saturday also cut off access to about 100 other homes in that area of the Shuswap. West said the mudflow blocking the road is anywhere between one and 2 1/2 metres deep, and the Ministry of Transportation is involved co-ordinating the excavation.
RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk also confirmed Monday that the recovery effort for Cache Creek fire Chief Clayton Cassidy has been scaled back but was continuing.
“What happens in these cases, again, there’s close monitoring and we watch the water levels. There are still boots on the ground with search and rescue personnel that are conducting shoreline searches,” he said.
Cassidy disappeared early Friday morning when he was investigating deteriorating conditions along Cache Creek.
Village Mayor John Ranta says a bridge was damaged and the firehall was flooded, but cleanup was beginning.
“The water is still flowing. It seems to be ebbing and flowing and we are anticipating an increase in flows at some point in the future, but hopefully the worst of it is over,” he said.
The River Forecast Centre says water levels were dropping in most rivers and creeks that had been swollen by spring melt and recent heavy rains in the southern and central Interior.
The centre reported Monday that the Salmon River in the Shuswap region remained on flood watch, while all other flood watches and high streamflow advisories had been lifted.
The District of Lake Country in B.C.’s Okanagan has declared a state of local emergency, joining Kelowna, West Kelowna, the Fintry Delta and the Regional District of Central Okanagan to help address flooding.
Murky water prompted boil-water advisories for Vernon, Kimberley, Nelson and some parts of the Westbank First Nation.
The Central Okanagan Regional District expanded an evacuation order Monday for more than two dozen properties on Okanagan Indian Band property because of localized flooding.
An evacuation alert remained in effect in Fintry Delta for those living in 90 properties. Residents from more than a dozen homes in Kelowna were still under an evacuation order.
In the Nicola Valley south of Logan Lake, a precautionary evacuation alert remained in place for about 250 people over concerns that high water may have damaged the spillway of the Mamit Lake dam. Officials were assessing the structure on Monday.
Flooding and slides began Friday after summer-like temperatures caused rapid snow melt, followed by a series of torrential downpours. (CHNL, CKIZ, The Canadian Press)
The Canadian Press