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Second Body Found After Alaska Landslide, One Man Still Missing

Sitka Landslide Survivors Wait to Begin Search 0:46

Searchers have found a second body in the aftermath of a large landslide in Sitka, Alaska, authorities said Thursday, and a third man remains missing and presumed dead.

The remains were found in the debris of the landslide that swept down a hillside Tuesday morning following 24 hours of heavy rains, officials said. The second body was found at around 12:44 p.m. local time (4:44 p.m. ET), the local government said.

Image: Sitka landslide in Alaska
Emergency workers walk around a mud and debris-filled Kramer Drive to the site of a destroyed home Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015 in SItka, Alaska. James Poulson / The Daily Sitka Sentinel via AP

The identities of those recovered have not been released, at the request of the victims' families, the city said in a statement.

Authorities have identified the missing men as William Stortz, 61, and two brothers, Ulises and Elmer Diaz, 25 and 26.

Stortz, a building official, was reportedly looking into the drainage system in the area, while the brothers were painting a home that was demolished in the slide. David Longtin was with Stortz when they heard a sound.

"We heard a noise that sounded like wind, we looked up on the hillside, saw some 200-foot tall trees falling like dominoes — boom boom boom, one after another," Longtin said.

Both men ran for their lives, but Stortz didn't make it, Longtin told NBC station KTUU.

Search dogs have identified an area of the landslide where the third missing man might be located, the government said in a statement.

Sitka is a community of around 9,000 people located in the southeastern part of the state.