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Deadly Landslide in Alaska Claims One Life, Five Missing

Alaska is reeling from a devastating landslide along Zimovia Highway, mile 11, near the city of Wrangell in the Alaska Panhandle. 

The incident, reported shortly before 9 p.m. local time on Monday, has claimed at least three lives, with three individuals still missing. 

The catastrophic event has prompted emergency response efforts, evacuation advisories, and the declaration of a state disaster by Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy.

Details of the Landslide

The landslide directly impacted three homes, with two situated on the mountainside and one on the waterside of the highway, according to the Alaska Department of Public Safety. 

Tragically, a deceased female juvenile was discovered from the waterside house during the initial search on Monday night. Two more deceased adults were located on Tuesday. 

Meanwhile, three individuals, including two juveniles and one adult, remain missing, and search and rescue efforts are underway.

Emergency responders from various agencies, including the Wrangell police and fire departments, Alaska Wildlife Troopers, and search and rescue teams, immediately initiated a search for survivors.

A woman residing on the mountainside was successfully rescued and is reported to be in good condition. Ground searches were briefly paused due to hazardous conditions but have since resumed with the assistance of a geologist to assess the safety of the areas affected by the landslide.

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Multi-Agency Efforts in Search and Rescue After Alaska Landslide

Alaska is reeling from a devastating landslide along Zimovia Highway, mile 11, near the city of Wrangell in the Alaska Panhandle.

Search and rescue teams, including K9 units from SEA Dogs in Juneau and Wrangell Search and Rescue, are actively involved in locating the missing individuals. The U.S. Coast Guard is conducting water searches, and a drone operator is aiding in the search efforts.

Officials have cautioned against entering the slide area due to the possibility of additional landslides. Approximately 20 to 30 people in the vicinity have been urged to evacuate to Wrangell for their safety. Zimovia Highway remains closed to traffic south of mile 6.

The landslide, estimated to measure 500 feet across at the highway, is identified as a debris flow—a type of landslide that can occur in steep-sloped areas, especially during periods of intense rainfall. 

According to Barrett Salisbury, a geologist from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, debris flows are notably destructive and can travel at speeds of up to 35 mph.

The devastating landslide in Alaska has claimed lives, left others missing, and prompted a swift and coordinated emergency response. 

As search and rescue efforts continue, the community faces the challenges of evacuations and potential hazards in the affected area. 

The declaration of a state disaster underscores the severity of the situation, as Alaskans grapple with the aftermath of this tragic event.

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