Workers with the state Department of Transportation have started to clear the remnants of the deadly landslide that came down 11 miles south of Wrangell this week.
The slide, which is about 450 feet wide, came down across Zimovia Highway before it reached the water. It left approximately 75 homes south of town without power. Many also lack phone service and the internet.
DOT Spokesperson Shannon McCarthy says crews are removing debris from both sides of the slide.
“We’re working to restore the roadway that will allow people on the south side to get power again, and then also allow them to have emergency access,” McCarthy said.
Since Monday night, there have been ongoing search efforts – from the air with drones, helicopters, and planes – and from the ground and water with K-9 teams and sonar.
The state says it plans to release the names of those involved in the slide Friday.
Searchers recovered the bodies of two adults and a child earlier this week. And one adult woman survived but hasn’t been identified.
But three people are still missing in the slide area – one adult and two children.
State officials announced Thursday that teams have searched every place they can without the use of heavy machinery. The response strategy is now moving from “an active search to a reactive one.”
“We have to move pretty deliberately because it is still a search and rescue situation,” McCarthy said. “We have a search dog team with their handler standing by so that we can stop should we, you know, need to resume rescue activities.”
But McCarthy says now the state will collaborate with local contractors to remove mud and downed trees from the roadway with heavy equipment.
She says if they find evidence that anyone missing is in a specific area, an active search may be restarted.