Ashcroft RCMP have confirmed that one person is missing after mudslides on Highway 99 swept away a car with two occupants on the afternoon of Saturday, August 11.
Valerie Morris, aged 57, was a passenger in a vehicle driven by her husband when the car was swept off the highway by a mudslide at approximately 5 p.m. The husband was able to get out of the vehicle, and when Ashcroft and Lillooet RCMP arrived at the scene they were informed that Valerie was unaccounted for.
Initial search efforts were unsuccessful. Ashcroft RCMP, along with assistance from the RCMP Police Dog Service, Search and Rescue, and the Fire Service are continuing the search. However, efforts are being hampered by the quick-moving water and unsafe conditions in and around the area of the mudslide.
Valerie Morris is described as Caucasian, 5 foot 2 inches, and 113 lbs, with auburn hair and hazel eyes. She was last seen wearing white/cream Capri pants, a black sun visor hat, a bright red jacket, and a bright pink shirt.
Ashcroft RCMP are asking anyone who may have been a witness, or are in possession of dash cam video of the slide or the Morris’s 1968 Morgan convertible prior to the slide, to contact the Ashcroft RCMP at 250-453-2216 and cite file 2018-1038.
The event occurred on a stretch of Highway 99 that has had 17 mudslides come down on it within 10 kilometres of the junction with Highway 97. The highway is closed in both directions, and it is estimated that it will remain closed for several days.
Ashcroft RCMP effected a rescue of six people from a house in the area on the afternoon of August 11, after a mudslide filled the entire first floor of the residence. RCMP officers had to approach the house on foot and climb onto the top of vehicles parked in front of the house in order to gain entrance to the second floor and rescue the occupants.
Severe rain caused mudslides on several area highways on August 11, with stretches of Highway 1 east and south of Cache Creek, and Highway 97 at Cache Creek and Clinton, closed for several hours. Those routes are all now fully reopened.