Southeast Alaska Hit by Landslides; Four People Missing

Fourth Estate Staff

Sitka, AK, United States (4E) – Continuous heavy rains triggered four landslides and a sinkhole in the Southeast Alaskan city and borough of Sitka on Tuesday morning.

Four people were reported missing after one landslide hit houses under construction near Kramer Avenue outside the city, Sitka Police Department Chief Sheldon Schmitt said.

A construction crew and city worker were in the area when part of the mountain came down at 9:41 a.m., Schmitt said. Rescuers are preparing to search for the missing people.

One house was destroyed, according to Sitka Fire Department spokesperson Sara Peterson.

Another landslide hit a building in a pulp mill. People in the Gary Paxton Industrial Park area were evacuated while Thimbleberry trail near Thimbleberry Lake was closed.

Landslide was also reported in Harbor Mountain Road.

Meanwhile, flooding caused a sinkhole in a parking lot across Halibut Point Road in the main area of town, Schmitt and a resident said.

Homes from Kramer Avenue to the 2400 block of Halibut Point have been evacuated and residents were warned to avoid the area, Peterson said.

Sitka was placed under a state of emergency.

The storm started at 5:30 a.m. and poured 2.5 inches of rain by 11:30 a.m., National Weather Service meteorologist Kimberly Vaughan … MORE

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