06/19/2013 01:18 EDT

Fort McMurray Flooding: 18 Campers Remain Stranded After Firebag River Bridge Washes Away


At least 18 campers remain stranded in the northern Alberta wilderness after a bridge was washed out by heavy rain and flooding.

High waters washed out fill on the north and south ends of the Firebag River Bridge, approximately 100 kilometres northeast of Fort McMurray, over the weekend.

Emergency repairs were put in place Sunday, allowing some people to cross the bridge back to safety, but the swollen river washed out the sides of the bank for a second time Monday, taking apart the bridge again.

"Crews did valiant work overnight to repair the north and south side of that erosion, it looked fantastic, but Mother Nature has kept coming down there," Regional police chief Darby Allen told Fort McMurray Today.

Officials told the Edmonton Journal they hope to rescue the remaining campers by the end of the week - but it all depends on the weather.

“We have been in contact with some of those who are affected. Those stranded are not in any danger; they have necessary supplies,” said Matthew Harrison, a spokesperson for the Wood Buffalo Regional Municipality.

Allen told Fort McMurray Today an air-lift out is the only solution available to the stranded campers.

"I think we may be looking at a flight plane or helicopter situation where we're just going to get those people out of there," he said, "If their quads and things can't go with them, we'll have to figure that out at a later date."

Story continues after the slideshow

Photo gallery Flooding In Fort McMurray (PHOTOS) See Gallery

People are being asked to stay out of the north side of the bridge.

"We're getting short on the ability to respond to looking for people that may be in the backcountry, it's not particularly easy to find folks back there," Fort McMurray Mayor Melissa Blake said.