At Least 8 Dead in Washington State Mudslide

Published 03/24 2014 08:08AM

Updated 03/24 2014 08:12AM

ARLINGTON, Wash. -- The desperate search for survivors of a massive mudslide in Washington state continues this morning.  So far, the death toll stands at eight, but could rise

Rescue crews found more bodies late Sunday in the mess of mud and sludge left behind by Saturday's huge landslide. Many others are still missing.

"I'm disappointed to tell you after searching a very large area on foot, we didn't find anybody alive. There was no sign of life," said Travis Hots, Chief of the Snohomish County Fire District 21.

Searchers worked carefully Sunday, combing through muck that was up to sixty feet deep in some areas. The mud is unstable with the consistency of quicksand.
The slide destroyed at least 30 homes in the tiny rural town of Oso, about 55 miles north of Seattle.

"This devastation reminds me very much of the devastation I saw when I was at Mt. St. Helen's 34 years ago," said John Lovic, Snohomish County Executive.

Officials say the wall of sludge, trees and rocks came without warning, although there had been heavy rainfall in the area in recent weeks.

"So the slide came from the north of the road here across the development across the street and into this valley of trees when part of the river is now flowing," explains Ty Trenary, Snohomish County Sheriff.

There is still concern about flooding because debris is partially blocking the Stillaguamish River. Residents are warned they may have to evacuate quickly.

Just after the mudslide Saturday rescuers pulled eight people out of the mess alive including a 6-month-old baby. Washington's governor has declared a state of emergency. More than 100 people will continue the seach this morning…on the ground and in the air.

(Bigad Shaban, CBS News)

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