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2 Workers Perish, 1 Missing in Landslide

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

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Days after a landslide killed two construction workers, search teams in Alaska still have not found the body of a building inspector who is presumed dead.

Heavy rains in Sitka, AK, actually caused several landslides near the small town on Aug. 18.

One of those slides, according to Equipment World, killed two workers who were hanging drywall and painting at a residential site, while the missing person—who also is the town’s fire marshal—was performing inspections in the area. He was still missing as of Monday (Aug. 24) morning.

The deceased were listed as brothers Elmer Diaz, 26, and Ulises Diaz, 25. The missing man is 62-year-old William Stortz.

A second heavy rainfall prevented recovery efforts on Friday (Aug. 21), according to KTUU TV. It remained unclear Monday if weather conditions would continue to prohibit Stortz’s recovery.

Once in 50 Years

Rick Thomas of the National Weather Service told the news outlet that the rainfall that took place last week was a “once in a 50-year event.”

In fact, the ground was so unsteady that it was making recovery efforts even more treacherous, reports said.

“It’s a slow, methodical process, and we have to be careful,” said Sitka Deput Fire Chief Al Stevens in an interview with the Associated Press.

Leah G Willden / KTUU

Two men died and another is presumed dead after a massive rainstorm caused a landslide to fall on the house on which the team was working, officials have said.

The AP also said that the Diaz brothers were killed either in or near the home on which they were working, while cadaver dogs had found a spot where they believe Stortz was buried.

The state of Alaska general assembly passed a resolution late Friday night asking Gov. Bill Walker to declare the area near the slide a disaster area, according to KCAW. The resolution went on to say that recovery efforts exceeded what the local officials were capable of handling themselves.

Meanwhile, loved ones mourned the victims.

'Really Neat Kids'

“They were really well loved, and really neat kids,” said Sitka Mayor Mim McConnell in an interview with the Alaska Dispatch News. “A lot of people had connections with that family.”

The brothers had been painting and completing drywall for Four Points Painting, according to co-worker Ramon Hernandez. Hernandez said he had been working with the men in the construction industry for several years, according to another ADN article.

The rainfall caused six other events in Sitka last week.

Rain that fell Aug. 18 caused five other landslides, including one that took out part of a pulp mill. Flooding also caused a sinkhole to open near a McDonald’s, the AND reported.

   

Tagged categories: Coatings; Drywall; Health and safety; Painting Contractor; Residential Construction

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