Alaska

3 men missing after several landslides in Alaska presumed dead, official says

Aug. 18, 2015: From left, city engineer Dan Tadic, Fire Chief Dave Miller, Search and Rescue Capt. Lance Ewers, and firefighter Rob Janik look at the damage caused by a landslide on Kramer Drive in SItka, Alaska.

Aug. 18, 2015: From left, city engineer Dan Tadic, Fire Chief Dave Miller, Search and Rescue Capt. Lance Ewers, and firefighter Rob Janik look at the damage caused by a landslide on Kramer Drive in SItka, Alaska.  (James Poulson/The Daily Sitka Sentinel via AP)

Officials say the three men missing in an Alaska landslide are presumed dead.

Sitka fire spokeswoman Sara Peterson said late Tuesday night that the search will be a "body recovery effort" once it's safe for crews to dig through the debris.

A landslide described as a sea of logs, mud and debris is believed to have trapped the three who were missing Tuesday from a neighborhood in the Alaska coastal town of Sitka.

Peterson says crews were not able to dig at the site Tuesday because of unstable terrain.

She tells The Associated Press that operations were suspended until a geologist assesses the stability of the slide area Wednesday morning.

She says that the missing men are presumed dead and the search will be one of body recovery — a determination based, in part, "from the force of the slide and that kind of impact."