A landslide that occurred on Monday is responsible for the deaths of at least three people in southeast Alaska.
WRANGELL, Alaska –The death toll from a landslide that buried homes and a highway outside of Wrangell, Alaska, in November has risen to five after officials said crews recovered the body of a 65-year-old from the debris.
One person remains missing, and they have been identified as:
Derek Heller, 12
The agency reported that the deadly landslide occurred along the Zimovia Highway, about 11 miles south of Wrangell in southeastern Alaska, on Nov. 20. The slide was estimated to be 450 feet wide where it crossed the highway.
Aerial view of the Wrangell Slide over Zimovia Hwy looking North.
(Caleb Purviance / Alaska Department of Public Safety / FOX Weather)
The landslide occurred without warning, and first responders said the ground remained unstable, which could result in additional movement.
First responders said three homes were believed to be damaged in the flow of rocky debris along the Zimovia Highway.
Heavy precipitation from an atmospheric river was reported over southeastern Alaska in the days before the landslide in Wrangell, which was likely responsible for triggering additional events in Hydaburg, Ketchikan and Klawock.
Alaska landslide map.
(Google / FOX Weather)
In addition to the heavy rain and snow, winds gusted to over 100 mph, leading to blizzard conditions and power outages on the southeastern coast.
"The collaborative efforts displayed by the multiple organizations involved in the response efforts for this disaster reflect how the Alaskan people come together to help each other in times of need," Captain Darwin Jensen, commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector Southeast Alaska, said in a statement. "We offer our deepest condolences to all those involved in this terrible tragedy, and continue to search for the missing."
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Wrangell Slide debris in Zimovia Strait Taken from Alaska State Trooper vessel. Alaska Department of Public Safety (DPS)
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Wrangell Slide over Zimovia Hwy looking North (Photo: Caleb Purviance)
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Landslide debris across Zimovia Highway Alaska DOT&PF
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View of landslide looking east to 1,500' level Alaska DOT&PF
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Search and rescue path across landslide debris Alaska Department of Public Safety (DPS)
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Law enforcement officers assist with search and rescue effort Alaska Department of Public Safety (DPS)
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A helicopter arrives near mile 11 of the Zimovia Highway where ground teams, including search and rescue dogs, are actively working to search areas that state geologists have determined safe for entry Nov. 22 in Wrangell, Alaska, following a massive landslide Nov. 20, 2023. Multiple agencies, including the Alaska State Troopers, U.S. Coast Guard and Forest Service, and Wrangell’s Police Department, Fire Department, and SAR, along with volunteer groups such as Juneau Sea Dogs and Petersburg SAR have been actively involved. (Photo by Willis Walunga, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management)
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A landslide occurred after 9 p.m. Monday, Nov. 20, just south of Pat Creek Road in Wrangell Alaska.
(Alaska Dept. of Transportation)