Sitka landslide : Rescue dogs help recover the remains of one missing person
Sitka landslide : Rescue dogs help recover the remains of one missing person

Sitka landslide : Rescue dogs help recover the remains of one missing person ‘Video’

Search crews recovered a body from the Kramer Avenue landslide in Sitka, The victim has not been identified.

The body was found around 7 p.m. on the north side of the slide near the home debris by a K-9 team from Juneau, The Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management spokesman Jeremy Zidek said, noting the dogs have been “instrumental in the search.”

David Longtin was one of three city employees inspecting storm drains at a new house on Kramer Avenue in Sitka on Tuesday morning when the hillside gave way.

“We heard a noise that sounded like wind, we looked up on the hillside and saw some 200 foot trees falling like dominoes, one after another,” Longtin said.

He and one of the other men ran to safety, but 62-year-old Sitka Fire Marshall William Stortz didn’t make it in time.

“When I turned around to run, I saw him, he had a very concerned look on his face, he looked like he was ready to run, but we lost touch with him, you know, immediately when we started running down the hill,” says Longtin. Longtin has now joined family of the victims and community members in search efforts at the slide site.

It would be more than 24 hours before the ground was stable enough for crews to start looking for Stortz, and two brothers missing on the hill: Elmer and Ulises Diaz.

Zidek said the family of the deceased has been notified. Officials are waiting until the family can notify other members before releasing the name of the victim.

The K-9 team will begin searching again around 5 a.m. Thursday so the dogs can work without any of the searchers or heavy machinery around, Zidek said.


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