Highway Mudslides Trap Dozens of Cars

British Columbia officials say it's too dangerous to attempt a rescue
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2021 4:47 PM CST
Mudslides Trap More Than 100 on Highway
The view near Princeton, British Columbia. Highway 3 is closed between Princeton and Sunshine Valley.   (Getty/edb3_16)

Mudslides ahead of them and behind them have trapped more than 100 people in their cars along a British Columbian highway. Rescue crews said Monday they were trying to find out the extent of the slides and debris so they could reach the cars safely, the CBC reports. "What complicates this situation is we have two slides on Highway 7 and we have people that were trapped in the debris," said David Boone, a search-and-rescue boss for the Vancouver Fire Department. Officials suspect there are approximately 50 vehicles caught between the two debris fields on Highway 7, with possibly two or three people in each.

One woman stuck in her car with her daughter said she's stressed by it and called the situation "very scary." Martina Martinkova said Monday that people were sharing food and water with others. At least one family includes a baby, she said. "We don't have any information," Martinkova said, though she'd been trying to learn the status of the rescue for hours. A nurse trapped in her vehicle said everyone's safe at the moment, Boone said. Merritt, a city of 10,000 about 165 miles northeast of Vancouver, issued an evacuation order, and parts of the region declared a state of emergency, per the AP.

The slides took place Sunday after torrential rain in the southern parts of the province. British Columbia's minister of public safety, said Monday it's still too dangerous for crews to try to reach the site. Officials will make the next determination Tuesday morning, he said. Another driver who's been stranded since 7pm Sunday said he and his fiancee were going home to Richmond when "all of a sudden, I noticed there's no vehicles behind us." Adam Wuisman said he thinks the number of vehicles is more like 200 to 300. They're worried about another slide. "It's a very eerie feeling here," he said, especially when people turn their headlights off in the dark. "I definitely heard people screaming for help," Wuisman said. (More mudslides stories.)

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