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UPDATED: First wave of Heavy Urban Search and Rescue team heads to Johnsons Landing

More than 20 members of the Vancouver Heavy Urban Search and Rescue team from Vancouver are now on scene as the search has been renewed for four missing residents of Johnsons Landing.

There are reports that responders are no inside the homes that were destroyed by the massive slide that tore through the community yesterday morning.

Nelson and Kaslo Search and Rescue are on location in Johnsons Landing, and the HUSAR team is now sending the first wave of responders into the site.

"You’re always got to balance the safety of your first responders and the responders going in with the need for speed to do the rescue," said Vancouver Fire chief John McKearney from the staging area in Kaslo. I’m assuming that the people that have been on site since last night before dark and after first light today have been measuring the risk and now they are going to do some evaluation, it is a rescue mission that is happening at this point."

Equipped with a canine unit and heavy equipment such as saws and torches, the HUSAR unit is intending to complement the work of the local search and rescue teams.

"They are going up there to take the information they get," said McKearney. "There is limited communication right now from the scene. They are going to take the information that they get from the scene, the task force leader is there and the commander is there to develop a concept of actions and start to described what the next wave of equipment and teams is required."

Even though more than 24 hours have passed since the slide destroyed Johnsons Landing home and four people are still missing, McKearney said the are still operating under the assumption of "survivability."

"We're expecting to find those people alive, that's why we're here," he said.

 

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