"All the stuff I lost is material": Shuswap mother looks at the positive after mudslide topples home | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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"All the stuff I lost is material": Shuswap mother looks at the positive after mudslide topples home

A mudslide on April 7, 2017 shifted Amber Mackie's home off its foundation while she and her son were inside.
April 12, 2017 - 6:30 PM

NEAR TAPPEN - Amber Mackie is counting her blessings after a landslide came crashing down on her home while she and her son were inside.

Both have bumps and bruises, but miraculously, they both made it out alive and without serious injuries.

Mackie says she had just gotten home from work to her Sunnybrae Canoe Point Road rental house on Friday, April 7 when she heard a crashing sound.

“When the sound came, I thought 'something is coming,’” Mackie says. “I didn’t have time to think: the house just crashed.”

A large slide of mud and debris had come blasting down the steep slope immediately behind the home.

Mackie was thrown to the ground as furniture toppled down around her.

“I just kind of went with the ride of the house,” she says.

The house itself is estimated to have shifted at least 75 feet as the slide came down. 

“In the moments after I climbed over the fridge and the stove to get to my son… Now, the house was all slanty and you’re dizzy, fighting with gravity,” she says.

Her son, 13, was in his room. While afraid, he was not physically injured, aside from bruises.

“Panic mode set in. We had to get out — now,” Mackie says. “I remember trying to break the patio door to get outside.”

By then, her landlords, who live next door and who also had their house damaged in the slide, were coming to see if she was alright. 

Mackie and her son got out of the home with nothing but the clothes they were wearing. They didn't even have shoes. The pet dog, outside at the time, didn't survive and there has been no sign of their cat, presumed lost to the slide. That's been the toughest part for her son, Mackie says. 

Days later, she’s still in shock. She never expected something like this to happen. 

“Every so often you’d get the odd big rock falling on the road further away from my house. Honestly, you see it (mudslides) on the news and you never think it’s going to happen to you,” she says.

The area does have some history of mudslides. In 2014, a large debris flow came down on Sunnybrae Canoe Point Road, about 15 km from the Trans Canada Highway. Seven properties were evacuated on either side of McIntyre Creek, where the slide occurred.

Mackie is thankful for an outpouring of support from friends and community members. From gifts of shoes, toiletries and clothes to an online fundraiser, she says people have shown incredible generosity and thoughtfulness.

“I didn’t know how many people I knew and was loved and touched by,” she says.

She doesn’t know when she’ll be able to retrieve items from the home (an evacuaiton order is still in effect), or what will even be salvageable, but that’s not important to her.

“I’m the luckiest person ever. I’m walking, I’m not broken. My son is okay. All the stuff I lost is material stuff,” she says.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2017

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