VICTORIA - The body of a third victim has been recovered from the site of the Johnsons Landing mudslide, the BC Coroners Service has confirmed.
The body of Rachel Webber, 17, was recovered by searchers at about 6 p.m. on July 25, the first day of the resumption of recovery efforts. Ms. Webber was located near the front of what had been her family's home in Johnsons Landing, just outside the boundaries of the first search area. Her father, Valentine, 60, and older sister Diana, 22, had been located in proximity to the same area during searches on July 15 and 16.
After two further days of searching yielded no further positive results last week, the BC Coroners Service had paused the search to re-assess the reasonable likelihood of finding more victims along with the potential risks to searchers. Experts concluded the slide site was becoming somewhat safer and there was a reasonable possibility of recovering Rachel, leading to the resumed search on July 25.
"I cannot express my thanks strongly enough to all our partners in this effort," said chief coroner Lisa Lapointe. "Special thanks must go to all the volunteers from Kaslo Search and Rescue and their manager Bruce Walker, to the local ambulance, fire and RCMP members, our colleagues at Emergency Management BC and to forensic analyst Bob Stair who pinpointed with such accuracy the best locations to search in a debris field that covers more than 80 acres. Additionally, we would like to thank the people of Kaslo and surrounding areas for the support and many kindnesses they demonstrated throughout the search effort."
One victim of the slide, German national Petra Frehse, 64, remains missing. Lapointe reconfirmed that, reluctantly, no further efforts will be undertaken to try to locate her body. A sizable excavation effort was completed at the former site of her residence but, because of the absence of artefacts recovered and due to the catastrophic impact of the slide at that site, the experts have concluded that there is no reasonable likelihood of locating her.
Coroner, Strategic Programs
BC Coroners Service