Global National reporter experiences near miss at Johnson Landing; rescue teams stuck on hold

Global National reporter Francis Silvaggio
Global National reporter Francis Silvaggio

A news crew from Global TV came close Friday to being the latest victims of mudslides at Johnson Landing.

Just before noon another round of mudslides rumbled down the mountainside near the quiet West Kootenay Community.

A Global National television crew, headed by reporter Francis Silvaggio, was on shore when the latest slide happened.

With cameras rolling from a boat safely positioned off shore, the camera operators scanned to Silvaggio on shore, who was jumping into a waiting boat to get away from the slide.

The footage shows the boat operator quickly shift the boat into reverse and speed away from shore moments before the slide, filled with mud, debris and trees, shot past the very spot Silvaggio was minutes before and into Kootenay Lake.

“Five minute ago . . . five minutes ago, we were there,” Silvaggio said into the rolling camera.

“We would have been wiped out . . . five minutes ago,” he added with a long exhale of breath.

Silvaggio is part of a flood of national media team flown in by the major Canadian networks to report on this tragic story that has gripped the tiny hamlet of Johnson Landing.

Thursday morning a mudslide thundered down Gar Creek and destroyed three homes, trapping four missing residents of Johnson Landing.

Missing is Valentine Webber and Rachel and Diana Webber along with a German resident who frequents the Johnson Landing area.

Friday has been difficult for rescue teams who continue to wait until its deemed safe for beginning the search.

"Because of the ongoing instability of the slide and the potential for more slides, the search suspended  — it's too unsafe with things the way they are,” said Regional District of Central Kootenay Emergency Operations Centre spokesperson, Bill Macpherson.

A geo-technician and other experts remain on site trying to resolve the safety issues.

View the footage of the Global National camera team at:

http://www.globaltvedmonton.com/video/index.html?v=uvXy3Z9QQPsS_NslSs_Bah7TO7LhK6zg#web+exclusives