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'Devastating loss': Fundraisers set up for toddler, family of those killed in B.C. mudslide

High school sweethearts Anita and Mirsad Hadzic were on their way home to Vancouver when they were caught in a mudslide on Highway 99.

Condolences and memories of three B.C. residents are circulating online following a fatal mudslide on Highway 99 between Pemberton and Lillooet. 

Family members say a couple was killed in the landslide and tragically leave behind a two-year-old girl.

High school sweethearts Anita and Mirsad Hadzic were coming back to Vancouver from a weekend getaway in the Okanagan. The couple had stayed at Sparkling Hill Resort in Vernon and were driving home on Nov. 15. 

“Anita and Mirsad were the most wonderful parents. They were kind, hardworking and loved by so many,” reads a GoFundMe fundraiser

According to the family, Anita was found in the vehicle on Nov. 16. Search and rescue crews found Mirsad a few days later, on Nov. 19.

Two fundraisers have been organized for their toddler, who is now orphaned. She is being taken care of by family members.

“Mirsad and Anita were both kind human beings, generous and loving individuals, supportive friends and most of all, incredible parents who would have done anything for their daughter,” reads another GoFundMe page.

“This devastating loss is felt by so many who loved them dearly.”

Glacier Media has confirmed with GoFundMe that both fundraisers are verified. 

Steven Taylor, a father of four from Burnaby, was travelling on Nov. 15 when he was killed in the mudslide on Highway 99. 

“Taylor was a force of nature both on the and off the rugby field, always giving to our beloved sport that he dearly loved,” said Dean Hopkins, a close friend to him. 

Rugby Canada tweeted it is saddened to learn about the passing of one of its own.

“Steven was a father and dedicated member of the rugby community and our condolences go out to his family and everyone who knew him,” states the organization.

Taylor played for the Snowcaps Rugby Club in North Vancouver.

“He was well known throughout the rugby community in Calgary and Alberta and also in B.C. He’s touched the lives of, not hundreds, thousands of people over his lifespan,” said Hopkins. 

fundraiser has also been set up to help his family.

Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet with the BC RCMP said a 61-year-old Lower Mainland man was also recovered at the location. The search at the location of the slide in the Duffey Lake area has been suspended, with one man still missing.

Police confirmed to Glacier Media that the missing individual is a 36-year-old man from Peachland.

“These three men were amongst those whom we confirmed were missing earlier this week,” said Shoihet.

All current search efforts have been exhausted, according to police. Discussions are underway as to how and when to continue searching for the one man. 

“We have been continuing the search for one more man; however, search efforts have been hampered by weather and site conditions,” said Shoihet. “Our thoughts continue to be with all of those who have been impacted in this terrible tragedy.”

Police confirm the area is still closed to motorists.

With files from the Canadian Press