Gov. Bill Walker inspected the damage Wednesday and met with family and friends of the missing men.
Peterson later told The Associated Press that the missing men are presumed dead and the search will be one of body recovery – a determination based, in part, “from the force of the slide and that kind of impact”.
Three people were presumed dead in Sitka on Tuesday after heavy rain caused six landslides and at least one sinkhole in the Southeast Alaska town, a municipal spokeswoman said.
Search dogs helped find the body, a spokesman for state emergency personnel said.
But, he said, it wasn’t until he was standing at the edge of the Kramer Avenue landslide -where trees are stacked fifteen feet high and there’s a blank space on the hillside where a house used to be – that the scale of destruction came home to him. But the bulk of the debris pile remains too unstable to tackle, he said.
The construction site incident was especially heartbreaking, he said. He’d been getting calls and texts from residents all day, he said. Also, the water coursing through the debris pile is flowing through the neighborhood and overwhelming the city sewer system, he said.
Multiple landslides began around 10 a.m. Tuesday following heavy rains in Sitka, which sits on an island to the southeast of the Alaskan mainland, 600 miles from Anchorage.
The others have been identified as brothers Elmer Diaz, 26, and 25-year-old Ulises Diaz, Ms Peterson said. The brothers are longtime residents who love playing basketball and are very close to each other, Hernandez said. Their parents also live in Sitka. “Most of us don’t have a lot of hope”, he said.
“It’s pretty devastating on how fast something like this can happen”, Simpson, a retired commercial fishermen, said in a phone interview from a saloon. Residents in the lower neighborhood were allowed to retrieve belongings for 30 minutes on Wednesday, according to Fate.
Carpenter Chris Harshey, who was working on a nearby home when the landslide struck, told the Daily Sitka Sentinel: “All of a sudden, I heard crackling and crumbling, and then the lights flickered”. He saw the slide destroy a home almost 200 yards above him and damage another.
A landslide explained by one see like an ocean of records, dirt and dirt is thought to have caught three individuals who were lacking Wednesday from the community within the Alaska coastal city of Sitka.