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UPDATED: Second body recovered from landslide at Johnsons Landing

Gar Creek still roars through the middle of the landslide that tore through Johnsons Landing. - Megan Cole photo
Gar Creek still roars through the middle of the landslide that tore through Johnsons Landing.
— image credit: Megan Cole photo

Crews continuing to work at the massive Johnsons Landing landslide found a second set of remains on Monday afternoon.

The body of a young woman believed to be either Rachel or Diana Webber was found 10 feet from the possible location of the Webber home’s foundation.

“The remains of the young woman were found at approximately 1 p.m. this afternoon in fairly close proximity to where the male was found yesterday,” said Lisa Lapointe, chief coroner with the BC Coroners Service. “Both of them were in fairly close proximity to where the residence was located; not in the home but close to where we believe the foundation is.”

The Coroners Service is working with 24 remaining people from the Vancouver-based Heavy Urban Search and Rescue team to recover the remains.

Crews were focused on the Webber home as of Sunday, but an update from officials said they are excavating the Frehse house as well.

Lapointe shed new light on the magnitude of the debris field crews are working on.

“It is a significant slide,” she said. “We’re excavating tons of dirt, rocks and trees. The remains are buried fairly deep in the debris, I would say excavating to approximately eight to 10 metres deep. This is a huge slide.”

The identification of the second body has not yet been released by the BC Coroners service, but with the remains believed to be of Valentine Webber found Sunday, the remains found yesterday are likely of Diana or Rachel.

“This is a significant recovery operation,” said Lapoint. “I’ll be honest I wasn’t optimistic that we would be able to recover remains this quickly and for the sake of the family and the community I’m very grateful to the people that are up there working on the site. I also greatly appreciate the expertise that we have on the site that are with our office, and of course the RCMP at the site. Everybody is consulting and we have a lot of experience. We have been very grateful that we have found the remains quickly and I am optimistic we will find the other remains as well.”

In addition to the Heavy Urban Search and Rescue Crew and RCMP, there are also heavy equipment operators who are working the excavators on the landslide.

“For those heavy equipment operators this is not something that they do everyday,” said Ian Cunnings with Emergency Management BC. “They are used to using that equipment to excavate and for building roads; recovering remains is something new to them. As you can imagine it’s not a pleasant task.”

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