Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Video: In Wake of Mudslide, Washington Moves From Rescue to Recovery

Posted By on Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 9:26 AM

Anguish has joined uncertainty in the continuing search for victims in the wake of a mudslide, north of Seattle, which has officially claimed 14 lives. Meanwhile the number of those missing rose from 18 on Saturday to 176 on Monday.

The search and rescue effort carried into a fourth day at sunrise this morning.

"I believe it's fair to say that most of us in these communities believe that we will not find any individuals alive," said Snohomish County Emergency Management Director John Pennington. "I am a man of faith, and I believe in miracles," but "we are moving towards a recovery operation."

The Snohomish County fire chief told residents that, after finding no additional survivors on Monday, "The situation is very grim."

The landslide covered about a square mile and was caused by groundwater saturation tied to heavy rain in the area over the past month. It affected Oso, with a population of about 180, and Darrington, a town of about 1,350.

But Pennington remained somewhat optimistic, saying Monday evening that, "the 176, I believe very strongly, is not going to be a number of fatalities. We're trying to whittle that down."

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