Dirt virtually dropped beneath the canal

As the recovery effort continues for the bodies of 43-year old Jacqueline Leavey, her 13-year old son Victor Alanis and 12-year old daughter Abbey Alanis, questions continue into what could have caused the tragic landslide in Logan’s Island neighborhood.In a noon press conference, questions continued into who may have known about the potential dangers of the Logan Northern Canal and if residents below the canal had been notified. Logan City Public Works Director Mark Nielsen referred questions about the hillside to Utah State University Geologist Dr. Robert Pack.Dr. Pack, along with his students, produced a thesis about the hillside following the 2005 landslide in that area. “The thesis focused on hazards above the canal, which have been the source of problems over the past 100 years,” Dr. Pack explained. He also said the thesis was discussed and reviewed just a few months ago.Dr. Pack has also been assisting Logan City’s efforts in determining the cause of the landslide. “It was not caused by events above the canal, but by constructive fill below the canal,” Dr. Pack said. He continued to explain that there didn’t seem to be anything structurally wrong with the canal, but that the land and dirt virtually dropped out from beneath the canal.There has been some speculation that the springs on the hillside have been more active lately, which may be due to over-watering on the USU campus which sits on top of that hillside. When asked, Dr. Pack did not rule out that possibility as a factor in weakening the hillside.Nielsen said that Logan City had been aware that a study was being conducted, but to his knowledge no residents were warned about potential, future dangers. Nielsen described the recovery process as slow and methodical, with about a quarter of the home excavated. He also said there is a strong possibility the bodies may have been pushed out of the home and could be in a large pile of mud and debris beyond the home’s foundation.Logan City Police Captain Jeff Curtis said the press conference was on the family’s behalf and any additional inquiries about the family should be directed toward Logan City Police. The family did release a statement thanking all the workers and volunteers on their family’s behalf. “We thank you all for your prayers and support during this difficult time. Through our faith in God we remain strong as a family.”Capt. Curtis also said there has been a fund set up at Wells Fargo to assist the families of the victims. For those wishing to contribute, they can go to any Wells Fargo bank and submit a donation to the “Rosa Rivera in Memory of the Alanis and Leavey Family” fund.

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