Eight Dead and 18 Still Missing After Massive Washington State Mudslide
On Saturday morning, a square mile of mud and debris from a collapsed hillside demolished two neighborhoods.
The death toll from yesterday's mudslide in Oso, Washington is now
four eight, with at least 18 people still unaccounted for. (UPDATE: Seattle Times reporter Alexa Vaughn reports that eight have been confirmed dead.)
On Saturday morning, a square mile of mud and debris from a collapsed hillside demolished two neighborhoods. Eight people were rescued, one of whom later died, and two were found dead. Another was found dead today.
Rescue efforts have been significantly hampered by the quicksand-like consistency of the slide, which is still moving. Rescuers were unable to reach an area where they heard cries for help last night. No cries have been heard since.
There is also a flash flood warning in the area, as the nearby Stillaguamish River has been blocked by the debris. Residents were ordered to evacuate the area last night in case the blockage gave way, but have been allowed to return to their homes today.
It's believed that the mudslide was caused by all the rain the area has gotten in March, the area's sixth-wettest since 1922. A much smaller landslide happened in the area two weeks ago.
Robin Youngblood told the Seattle Times that she and a friend were sitting in her living room when they heard a crack. Youngblood looked out the window and saw a 25-foot-high wall of mud coming towards them. She survived by climbing into her clothes dryer; her friend hid in her dishwasher. Her home was destroyed.
The Seattle Times has a map of the slide area:
Map by @SnoCoSheriff of #530slide area prior to slide showing parcels affected and slide extent. pic.twitter.com/qAAg5J8jVx— The Seattle Times (@seattletimes) March 23, 2014
webpage dedicated to news and information about the slide, as has the state's governor.
"The scope of this is almost unbelievable and it's just heart-rending," Gov. Jay Inslee told the Seattle Times. "There are people who are missing and people who are awaiting news of their loved ones."