3 killed, 18 still missing after deadly mudslide in Washington State

March 23, 2014 | By | Reply More

Mar 23, – Officials described the deadly slide as “a big wall of mud and debris” that blocked about one mile of State Route 530 near the town of Oso, about 55 miles north of Seattle. It was reported about 60 feet deep in some areas.

hromedia Officials About 18 missing in Washington mudslide intl. news2Government officials have declared a state of emergency as they search for survivors of a massive mudslide in Washington State that killed at least three people and injured seven.

A day after the slide came down at 11 a.m. Saturday, approximately 18 people were still unaccounted for. Officials said the number of missing is fluid and could change because some people may have been in cars and on roads when the slide hit.

The slide of dirt, trees, mud rocks and other debris has expanded to nearly more than a square kilometre, officials told reporters at a press conference Sunday morning.

“The devastation is unrelenting,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee at a press conference this afternoon. “It is 10 times more devastating when you see it yourself.”

Several people — including an infant — were critically injured and as many as 30 houses were destroyed. The slide wiped out one neighborhood, where there were about 28 to 30 homes, authorities said.

Hots said the number of missing is fluid and could change because some people may have been in cars and on roads when the slide hit just before 11 a.m. Saturday.

The mud was so thick and deep that searchers turned back late Saturday after attempting to reach an area where voices were heard crying for help.

Rescuers couldn’t hear any signs of life once they got closer, and the decision was made to back out due to safety reasons, Hots said.

The slide blocked the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River, which prompted an evacuation notice because water was rising rapidly behind the debris. Authorities worried about severe downstream flooding if water suddenly broke through the debris.

Authorities said Sunday that residents could return home during daylight hours.

The Snohomish County sheriff’s office reported that two people had been killed at the scene. Authorities later said one of the people who had been resecued died at a hospital.

A 6-month-old boy and an 81-year-old man remained in critical condition Sunday morning at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg said two men, ages 37 and 58, were in serious condition, while a 25-year-old woman was upgraded to satisfactory condition.

Authorities believe the slide was caused by groundwater saturation from recent heavy rainfall. Pennington said the area has a history of unstable land. He said a slide also happened there in 2006.

Press journalist for HRO media – Debi Campillos contributed to this report.

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Category: International

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