Search and rescue personnel help flood evacuees disembark from a helicopter in Agassiz, B.C. on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Helicopters rescue 275 stranded B.C. motorists, efforts now turn to debris field

More than 20 emergency centres have been activated to help house stranded travellers

Rescue crews will spend Tuesday searching for people who may have been trapped in debris from mudslides on a British Columbia highway, after helicopters worked to ferry out 275 people from a slide site on Highway 7.

The mudslides rolled over the highway during an “atmospheric river” that brought a deluge of rain and flooding to the southwest and central parts of the province.

The torrential rain closed highways, overwhelmed rivers and creeks and caused the wastewater treatment plant in Merritt to break down, forcing the evacuation of the city of 7,000.

More than 20 emergency centres have been activated to help house stranded travellers.

Multiple roadways have been closed because of flooding or landslides, including sections of Highway 1A, Highway 3, Highway 11, Highway 12, and Highway 91.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government is ready to help British Columbians affected by flooding and extreme weather, urging people to stay safe.

There have been no reports of any fatalities.

—The Canadian Press

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B.C. Floods 2021