Diederichs

A Peachland man, 36-year-old Brett Diederichs, had gotten out of his car to see if others needed help when he was swept away by a giant mudslide on Highway 99 last week.

A Peachland man swept away by a landslide had stepped out of his car moments earlier to see if he could help other motorists.

Brett Diederichs, 36, is being remembered by friends and family as a kind, funny, and warm-hearted man. He was among the five people killed in last week’s devastating landslides that closed several B.C. highways.

Diederichs and his partner Madison Van Rijn moved in August 2020 from Toronto to Peachland. They wanted to be closer to his mother, Brenda, after the death of his father to cancer.

Diederichs had been working at some local wineries, including Dirty Laundry Vineyards in Summerland. Along with Madison and his mom, they decided earlier this year to move to Victoria.

They were headed there last week, driving along Highway 99 near Pemberton. Their way had been blocked by a small mudslide, caused by torrential rain, that had also caused people in several vehicles ahead of theirs to stop.

“Brett was out, seeing if there was anything that could be done, or if anyone needed help,” his sister, Kirsten Diederichs, said Wednesday.

“He had a big heart like that, and he always looked after everyone around him,” she said of her brother, who had training both as a firefighter and paramedic.

While he was on the highway, there was a loud noise, and a mudslide descended on the area. “Brett wasn’t able to get to a vehicle in time,” his sister said.

Diederichs’ body has not yet been recovered. Police have confirmed a 36-year-old man from Peachland is missing and presumed dead as a result of the mudslide.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family. As of Wednesday, it had raised almost $7,000 toward the $100,000 goal and the page is filled with tributes to Diederichs. (To donate, see https://www.gofundme.com/f/hpzgm-bring-brett-home?qid=bf1e5302f2f229221658b51b36a604b8)

“He is the most memorable person I have ever met,” wrote Alex Lavender, who worked with Diederichs in the Toronto restaurant industry. “He was someone you always just wanted to be around, he had this aura about him that really touched every person he met.”

“Brett was hands down one of the most pleasant people I knew in high school and every memory I have of him is filled with positivity, kindness, laughter, hidden talents, and all spiced up with a healthy dose of goofiness,” wrote Mehrbod Estaki. “I really looked up to his energy.”