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The Globe and Mail

Mother asks for prayers for missing family after massive B.C. landslide

In this video screen grab a home is seen overtaken by mud and debris from a landslide in the community of Johnson's Landing, 70 kilometres northeast of Nelson, B.C., Thursday, July 12, 2012. Industrial crews were trucking to the scene to help search for four possible victims who may have been buried in the slide that rolled over three homes

Canadian Press

A woman who says her two daughters and ex-husband were caught in a massive B.C. landslide is asking for prayers that they'll be found alive.

Lynn Migdal says her daughters Rachel and Diana Webber - along with ex-husband Valentine - were buried "hopefully alive" in their home in Johnsons Landing, near Kaslo, B.C.

The rescue effort was called off Thursday night, due to darkness, and had not resumed by 10:30 a.m. PST Friday due to the unstable conditions.

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Ms. Migdal expressed frustration with the rescue's pace, and urged quick action.

"I need hundreds of people with shovels as soon as possible, if there is any chance that my family is still breathing," she said in an interview.

"It's very frustrating. It's just happening so slow. [Thursday], I understand, they were waiting for it to settle, but they said as soon as it was sunlight that they would try to start digging my family out."

Ms. Migdal's Facebook page was covered in posts from well-wishers.

"Sending more thoughts and prayers your way. Lynn remember there are a lot of people praying for you and the girls," said one person.

Added another: "Oh Lynn I am so sorry for all the you are going through! We just talked about the kids [Wednesday]. I am praying for all of you!"

Emergency crews met at dawn to consider the most efficient way to search for the possible victims. Four people are still unaccounted for in all.

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Bill Macpherson, spokesman for the Central Kootenay Regional District, said crews flew over the landslide site and deemed it unsafe for rescuers.

"It's obviously not safe for responders to be on, or near, that at this time," he said in an interview.

Mr. Macpherson said it's unclear when exactly the rescue effort will resume.

The landslide occurred Thursday morning. A wall of rock, mud and trees cascaded down the side of a mountain above the shores of Kootenay Lake, tearing through the tiny community of Johnsons Landing, about 70 kilometres northeast of Nelson. At least three homes were engulfed.

A landslide expert and geo-technicians are also at the scene, which can only be reached by boat because the dirt road leading to the remote community is covered by debris up to four metres deep.

A state of local emergency has been declared for the area and several residents have been evacuated to the community of Kaslo, across the lake from the slide.

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Roland Procter was on his garden deck Thursday morning when he heard the unmistakable noise.

"It was a prolonged 20 to 30 second rumbling that was unlike any rumbling I've ever heard," the retired doctor said.

He was only 500 metres away as a massive torrent of mud gushed down, sweeping up large trees and snapping them like toothpicks.

With files from The Canadian Press

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