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Active search suspended for 2 missing after Alaska landslide

David Simmons, 30, and Janae Larson, 23, have been missing since last week's landslide in Haines, and it is unsafe to explore the slope on foot.
Image: Aerial view of Haines, Alaska
An aerial view over Haines, Alaska where a landslide swept through the area late last week.US Coast Guard

Alaska State Troopers are suspending active searches for two people missing after a landslide last week swept through the area where they lived, the agency said Monday.

More landslides near Haines, Alaska, are possible, and it's too unsafe to for searchers, the troopers said. Several landslides struck the area Wednesday after heavy rains, the largest of which has been reported to be 600 feet wide.

It is very unlikely that David Simmons, 30, and Janae Larson, 23, could have survived, a spokesman for the state troopers said.

"This doesn't make this search effort any less important," spokesman Austin McDaniel, said. "We want to bring them back to their families."

Four homes were destroyed and other people were evacuated because of rainfall that was continuing Monday, said Alekka Fullerton, public information officer for the Haines Borough emergency operation center.

"We still have a disaster here, and we still have evacuations due to weather," she said, calling the weather "a 200-year storm" that also took out roads in the community of around 2,500.

Image: USCG boat
A US Coast Guard boat helps with the search for victims of the recent landslide that swept through Haines, Alaska,.US Coast Guard

The Alaska State Troopers said in a statement Monday that if new information was received the agency would reevaluate search efforts.

A Coast Guard cutter as well as guard personnel also remain in Haines to assist first responders and residents but there were no active searches ongoing Monday, a Coast Guard spokesperson said.

Initially six people were said to be unaccounted for following the landslide, but by Thursday, four had been located safe, authorities said.

The city and borough of Haines is in the southeast part of the state on the Alaska pahandle. Heavy rains caused multiple landslides in the region and at least 12 communities reported damages, the office of Gov. Mike Dunleavy has said. He declared a disaster Saturday.