After days of a rescue operation at Johnsons Landing following a destructive landslide, the remains of a man believed to be Valentine John Webber were found this afternoon.
“RCMP are confirming that as of late today the rescue operation at the Johnsons Landing area landslide has been classified as a recovery operation with found remains,” said RCMP Sgt. Dan Moskaluk. “The remains were found this afternoon following a rapid and extensive disaster response that began Thursday, July 12.”
The remains were found in the Webber’s house where the search and rescue teams and the Heavy Urban Search and Rescue team have been focused.
“When the rescue operation got under-way we were sensitive to the possibility that we might have two homes that we believe that remains might be found,” said Moskaluk. “As previously discussed the remains were found in the house that we have been referring to as our main site and first priority because of the information that we had we believed that this would be the highest possibility of finding the remains.”
The remains of Webber’s daughters Rachel and Diana along with German Tourist Petra Frehse are still missing.
The Vancouver based Heavy Urban Search and Rescue team is now working with members of the BC Coroners office to extract the remains from the debris.
The specialized search and rescue team were able to get an excavator on to the slide today helping to get to the foundation of the home.
The house of the Webber home had been visible, but due to the force of the slide was pushed more than 40 metres down from the foundation.
Vancouver Fire Chief with the Heavy Urban Search and Rescue team said the excavator had to dig through at least three metres of debris to access the foundation.
Officials had been optimistic until today that the mission was a rescue and not a recovery.
“A decision was made after collaborating with the ex RCMP member that is an expert in this field and with the expertise of Canada Task Force 1 with the vision that there wasn`t a likely hood of survivability at this point,” said Cunnings. “A decision was made by the incident command team to the RCMP that the operation transfer into a recovery mission to look for remains.”
Chief Coroner Lisa Lapoint said the focus of the BC Coroners Service is to extract the remains.