Three dead and three missing after landslide smashes into Alaska homes

Three people have been killed and three are missing after a deadly landslide barrelled down a rain-soaked mountainside and smashed into homes in Alaska.

The slide – estimated to be 450 ft  wide – happened at around 9pm on Monday during a storm near Wrangell, an island community of 2,000 people.

The landslide left a scar of barren earth from near the top of the mountain down to the ocean. A wide swath of evergreen trees was ripped out of the ground and a road was buried by debris, cutting off access and power to dozens of homes.

Rescue crews found the body of a girl in an initial search and the bodies of two adults were later found by a drone operator.

Two children and one adult remained unaccounted for after the disaster, with searchers on land using a sniffer dog while coastguard and other vessels looked along the shoreline.

“Our community is resilient,” Wrangell interim borough manager Mason Villarma said.

“And it always comes together for tragedies like this. We’re broken, but resilient and determined to find everybody that’s missing.”

Alaska state governor Mike Dunleavy issued a disaster declaration for Wrangell, saying he and his wife were heartbroken and praying for all those affected.

Another storm system is expected in the Wrangell area late on Wednesday into Thursday.