Dozens of back country campers were rescued from the Sea to Sky corridor north of Vancouver on Monday after a landslide caused by heavy rains closed off several roads throughout the region.
In Lillooet, 50 campers were airlifted out to Pemberton. Closer to Squamish, seven people were airlifted on Sunday and another 28 were able to drive out on Monday when a back road was cleared for them to pass.
"We just noticed the river kept rising and rising and getting more and more violent and you could hear the boulders in the river tumbling down," said Berm McCandless, one of the rescued campers.
Nearby resident Michelle Molnar, who lives in the Birken neighbourhood north of Pemberton, also said she could hear the landslide a kilometre from her home.
"You could hear it rumbling at the top — it would come down, snake through the little drench that it built and end up taking out trees and big boulders. Super loud," said Molnar.
Five homes in the Birken Portage Road area remain evacuated. Officials said they would provide an update on Tuesday as to when the residents would be allowed back.
A two storey house in the Birken neighbourhood north of Pemberton was buried up to its roof line after heavy weekend rains triggered flooding and landslides in the Sea to Sky corridor.
Eye witnesses say waves of water, mud and debris came rolling down the hill towards the house, completely filling the first story and part of the second with mud.
Residents of the house were not at home at the time of the slide.
As well, a landslide cut access and power to over 200 people in the communities of N'Quatqua, D'Arcy and Devine.
"We're communicating with them through a combinations of radios, satellite phones and couple of old rotary phones that are still working," said Ryan Wainwright, Emergency Program Manager for the Squamish Lillooet Regional District.
The Sea to Sky corridor was deluged with 150 millimetres of rain over three days, with rainfall rates peaking at eight millimetres an hour.
Wainwright says it's possible the long, dry summer was a factor.
"We do know after a long period of hot, dry weather, soil becomes hydrophobic, which means it doesn't absorb water the way it normally would," Wainwright told CBC.
"We're speculating that may have had something to do with the high level of runoff we saw after the rain, potentially triggering these landslides.