In a heart-wrenching turn of events, the aftermath of a landslide in Alaska has claimed the life of an 11-year-old girl, Kara Heller, increasing the death toll to four, according to state officials. Kara's body was discovered on Saturday evening after a scent detection K-9 signaled an area of debris, prompting further investigation, as announced by the Alaska Department of Public Safety on Sunday.
Tragically, Kara's family members were previously identified among the victims — Timothy Heller, 44; Beth Heller, 36; and Mara Heller, 16 — all found lifeless at the scene on Tuesday evening. The devastating landslide occurred near Wrangell in the Alaska Panhandle, along the Zimovia Highway at mile 11, shortly before 9 p.m. local time on Monday.
The search continues for Derek Heller, 12, and Otto Florschutz, 65, who remain missing, as efforts persist to locate them amidst the challenging terrain. The landslide, measuring an estimated 500 feet across the highway, affected three homes directly in its path, marking a grim chapter in Wrangell's history.
The Alaska Department of Public Safety, employing various resources including K-9s, drones, boats, and helicopters, scoured the region since the landslide struck on Monday night. The discovery of Kara Heller on Saturday provided a tragic resolution, bringing closure to her family, while the search for the remaining missing individuals intensifies.
Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy declared a state disaster in response to the landslide, emphasizing the gravity of the situation. The collaborative efforts of emergency crews and ongoing search operations underscore the resilience of the community in the face of this devastating natural disaster. As the story unfolds, the community rallies together, demonstrating strength, compassion, and solidarity in the wake of an unimaginable tragedy.
In the somber aftermath of the devastating landslide near Wrangell, Alaska, the discovery of 11-year-old Kara Heller's lifeless body has added another layer of heartbreak to an already tragic incident. The toll has now reached four, with Kara's family members, Timothy Heller, Beth Heller, and Mara Heller, also succumbing to the landslide's destructive force.
As the community mourns the loss of lives and grapples with the profound grief inflicted by this natural disaster, the search for Derek Heller and Otto Florschutz remains a poignant reminder of the challenges in the face of such tragedies. The relentless efforts of emergency crews, utilizing diverse resources and navigating treacherous terrain, underscore the resilience of the community in their pursuit to locate the missing individuals.
Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy's declaration of a state disaster amplifies the severity of the situation, prompting a united front in response to the crisis. The collaboration of various agencies and the community's collective strength shine through as they confront the aftermath of this unforeseen catastrophe.
In the face of loss, the story unfolding in Wrangell reflects not only the devastating impact of nature's unpredictability but also the unwavering spirit of a community rallying together to support one another. As the search continues, the coming days will likely reveal both the profound resilience and the deep compassion that emerges in the wake of unimaginable tragedy.