by Dave Preston
A body has been pulled from the site of a devastating mudslide at Johnsons Landing as the effort to find survivors now turns to the recovery of more bodies.
Four people were believed lost following the July 12 mudslide that swept into several homes in Johnson Landing. They were Valentine Webber, his daughters Diana and Rachel and a visitor from Germany, Petra Frehse.
The recovered body was that of a male, according to the BC Coroners Service, which took on an expanded role Sunday into the investigation of the mudslide.
RCMP decided Sunday to cease search and resuce efforts and transition to a recovery operation that will be led by the coroners service.
Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe and Steve Fonseca, a disaster management specialist, travelled to the site of the disaster Sunday, according to the coroners service.
The coroners service stated in a press release that the decision to involve the service came after unified command on site, “…concluded reluctantly that there was no longer any hope that anyone who had been caught in the slide could be found alive.”
The primary job of the coroners service will be to conduct an assessement to determine the possibility and feasibility of further recovery efforts.
“Information gained during the investigation will also allow chief coroner Lapointe to determine as expeditiously as possible whether she should issue a declaration which would legally declare any of the four persons dead as she is entitled to do under the BC Coroners Act,” states the release.