07/12/2012 05:18 EDT | Updated 09/11/2012 05:12 EDT

B.C. landslide leaves up to 6 unaccounted for

Emergency officials say as many as six people are unaccounted for after a large landslide slammed into at least one home in southeastern B.C.

Bill Macpherson, a public information officer with Central Kootenay Regional District, says it's unclear if the people were away from their homes at the time of the slide, or if they were inside.

Emergency crews are en route to the scene but the slide has cut off access to the remote rural community, located north of Kaslo on the east side of Kootenay Lake, about 450 kilometres northeast of Vancouver.

Macpherson says there's no cellular phone service in the remote area, so they haven't been able to reach the residents whose homes might have been affected.

Richard Ortega, who owns the Johnson's Landing retreat centre near where the landslide hit, said he was talking with a friend at about 10:30 a.m. when the landslide occurred.

"The ground started to shake … and we heard a gigantic rumble behind us,” Ortega said.

He said they rushed to the scene.

"And the house was basically flattened …there was no sound — so we're hoping that they perhaps went into town."

About 35 people live in 15 to 20 houses in the community.

"In 40 seconds, the entire landscape changed," Ortega said. "So I was just in awe and in shock and in fear for our neighbours at the same time."