Author Topic: Authorities: 108 People Unaccounted For In Deadly Mudslide  (Read 472 times)

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Offline mystery-ak

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Authorities: 108 People Unaccounted For In Deadly Mudslide
« on: March 24, 2014, 05:01:22 PM »
http://seattle.cbslocal.com/2014/03/24/massive-mudslide-kills-at-least-8-people/

Authorities: 108 People Unaccounted For In Deadly Mudslide
March 24, 2014 11:58 AM


A house sits destroyed in the mud on Highway 530 next to mile marker 37 on March 23, 2014 near Arlington, Wash. (credit: Lindsey Wasson/The Seattle Times-Pool/Getty Images)


ARLINGTON, Wash. (AP) — The search for survivors of a deadly Washington state mudslide grew Monday to include 108 names of people who were reported missing or were unaccounted for, but authorities cautioned the figure likely would decline dramatically.

Still, the size of the list raised concerns the death toll would rise far above the eight people who have been confirmed dead after the 1-square-mile slide Saturday swept through part of a former fishing village about 55 miles northeast of Seattle. Several people also were critically injured. About 30 homes were destroyed, and the debris blocked a 1-mile stretch of state highway.

“The situation is very grim,” Snohomish County Fire District 21 Chief Travis Hots said, stressing that authorities are still in rescue mode and are holding out hope. But he noted: “We have not found anyone alive on this pile since Saturday.”

Adding to the worries was that the slide struck Saturday morning, a time of the weekend when most people are at home. Of the 49 structures in the neighborhood hit by the slide, authorities believe at least 25 were occupied full-time.

Snohomish County emergency management director John Pennington said the list of 108 names was pulled together from various sources, and it doesn’t mean there are that many injuries or fatalities.

Among the possible missing are construction workers coming into the neighborhood and people just driving by.

“It’s a soft 108,” Pennington said.

An overnight search of the debris field turned up no other survivors or fatalities, Hots said. He said Monday’s search would include aircraft, search dogs and heavy equipment.

However, conditions remained risky, and authorities had to pull back some crews Monday morning because of concern about the hillside moving, Snohomish County spokeswoman Bronlea Mishler said.

“It is definitely dangerous any time we have an unstable hillside,” she said.

Search and rescue teams took to the air in helicopters and the ground on foot on Sunday looking for anyone who might still be alive. Their spirits had been raised late Saturday when they heard the cries for help from the flotsam of trees, dirt and wreckage.

Dangerous conditions forced them to turn back in the darkness.

Snohomish County sheriff’s Lt. Rob Palmer said four bodies were discovered late Sunday. Earlier in the day, authorities said one body had been found on the debris field. Three people were confirmed dead Saturday.

Crews were able to get to the soupy, tree-strewn area that was 15-feet deep in places Sunday after geologists flew over in a helicopter and determined it was safe enough for emergency responders and technical rescue personnel to search for possible survivors, Hots said.

He added they did not search the entire debris field, only drier areas safe to traverse.

Frequent, heavy rainfall and geography make the area prone to landslides. Less than a decade ago, another slide hit in the same general area. Geologists and other experts said the Stillaguamish River likely caused some erosion in the area that was carved by glaciers.

Authorities believe Saturday’s slide was caused by ground made unstable by recent rainfall.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee described the scene as a “square mile of total devastation” after flying over the disaster area midday Sunday. He assured families that everything was being done to find their missing loved ones.

The slide blocked the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River, which is continuing to back up, officials said. Authorities said Monday at least seven homes are now flooded, and more flooding is expected.

The river, however, is finding its way through the mudslide, as expected. “It’s good news,” said Steve Thompson, public works director for Snohomish County.

Bruce Blacker, who lives just west of the slide, doesn’t know the whereabouts of six neighbors. “It’s a very close-knit community,” Blacker said Sunday as he waited at an Arlington roadblock before troopers let him through.

The mudslide also blocked about a mile of State Route 530 near the town of Oso.

Search and rescue help came from around the region, including the Washington State Patrol and the Army Corps of Engineers.

Barbara Welsh went to Monday’s news briefing in Arlington to get more information. She said she hasn’t seen her husband, William Welsh, since Saturday when he went to help someone in Oso with a water tank.

Linda Byrnes, a former Arlington council member, checked on friends and other community members Monday morning.

“What they’re doing is hanging out with each other, holding each other up, she said, adding: “You can’t live here without knowing someone who is unaccounted for.”

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Offline mystery-ak

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Re: Authorities: 108 People Unaccounted For In Deadly Mudslide
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2014, 05:26:20 PM »


Before and After: Photos Show Mudslide's Destruction
By Jon Sweeney

A mudslide in Washington state turned a square mile of Snohomish County into complete devastation and claimed the lives of at least eight people and destroyed dozens of homes. The slide, which occurred around 11 a.m. PT Saturday, turned land that spanned neighborhoods into "quicksand."

The combination photo above shows the same area near State Route 530 before and after the mudslide devastated the community of Oso, 59 miles north of Seattle.
First published March 24th 2014, 10:42 am

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/deadly-mudslide/after-photos-show-mudslides-destruction-n60596

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Offline NavyCanDo

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Re: Authorities: 108 People Unaccounted For In Deadly Mudslide
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2014, 06:22:50 PM »
Very sad news breaking here in Washington -  among the 108 names of missing are a group of girls at a slumber party.   

To date the largest natural disaster in Washington was Mount St. Helens which killed 57.   This massive landslide could tower over that. 
A nation that turns away from prayer will ultimately find itself in desperate need of it. :Jonathan Cahn

Offline NavyCanDo

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Re: Authorities: 108 People Unaccounted For In Deadly Mudslide
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2014, 06:39:43 PM »
My niece who lives in the Arlington area down river just text me and said they are evacuating people just west of the original slide because of more slides happening on the hillside. Where she lives is on alert only at this time.  Its a beautiful day today, but more rain is moving in tonight and for much of the rest of the week.   My heart goes out to those people.
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Offline mountaineer

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Re: Authorities: 108 People Unaccounted For In Deadly Mudslide
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2014, 08:35:54 PM »
Quote
Authorities believe Saturday’s slide was caused by ground made unstable by recent rainfall.
... which I'm sure already has been blamed on manmade climate change.  :nono:
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Offline Atomic Cow

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Re: Authorities: 108 People Unaccounted For In Deadly Mudslide
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2014, 08:37:17 PM »
... which I'm sure already has been blamed on manmade climate change.  :nono:

Of course, which means it is Bush's fault.
"...And these atomic bombs which science burst upon the world that night were strange, even to the men who used them."  H. G. Wells, The World Set Free, 1914

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Offline musiclady

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Re: Authorities: 108 People Unaccounted For In Deadly Mudslide
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2014, 09:20:19 PM »
Very sad news breaking here in Washington -  among the 108 names of missing are a group of girls at a slumber party.   

To date the largest natural disaster in Washington was Mount St. Helens which killed 57.   This massive landslide could tower over that.

Wow.  That's awful.

Prayers for the people in this community.
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Offline Atomic Cow

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Re: Authorities: 108 People Unaccounted For In Deadly Mudslide
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2014, 09:23:19 PM »
Death toll is up to 14.

That said, remember that "unaccounted for" does not mean "dead," not by a long shot.

When the fertilizer plant exploded in West last year, there were tons of people who were listed as "missing/unaccounted for" after the first day and in the end, most if not all were found to be okay.

The odds are the death toll will be less than 116.  People often end up on the missing lists and don't even know it.  Only days later are they removed when authorities figure out they're alive.
"...And these atomic bombs which science burst upon the world that night were strange, even to the men who used them."  H. G. Wells, The World Set Free, 1914

"The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections." -Lord Acton

Offline NavyCanDo

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Re: Authorities: 108 People Unaccounted For In Deadly Mudslide
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2014, 11:26:45 PM »

Missing list grows to 176 tonight.   Hoping like the story says, that there are duplicate names or many of the people on the list are someplace else.   With 30 to 35 homes destroyed plus whatever traffic was on the road 176 seems high.

http://www.king5.com/news/local/Oso-darrington-landslide-Monday-251915291.html

Monday night, Snohomish County Emergency Management Director John Pennington said the number of reports of people missing or unaccounted for has grown from 108 to 176. He emphasized many of those names could be duplicates.
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Offline Chieftain

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Re: Authorities: 108 People Unaccounted For In Deadly Mudslide
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2014, 06:54:41 AM »
Just when you think things cannot get worse...I didn't expect the list of missing to jump like that.  Certainly it will be pared down over the coming days, but I still fear there has been a horrific death toll.  The pictures are just staggering. 

The worst part is that we're moving back into a rainy period, and with the ground still moving, things will not get better soon....

Prayers for the missing....


Offline mountaineer

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Re: Authorities: 108 People Unaccounted For In Deadly Mudslide
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2014, 07:52:06 AM »
A recent news article:
Quote
Officials work to narrow number of missing in Washington mudslide
Published March 25, 2014/
FoxNews.com


Emergency responders and volunteers were to resume search operations Tuesday morning and attempt to narrow down the number of people unaccounted for following Saturday's massive mudslide in a rural part of Washington state, north of Seattle.

Late Monday, authorities announced that the official death toll had increased to 14 after searchers discovered six more bodies in the rubble.

The main focus of the search operations has been to pin down the exact number of people unaccounted for after the disaster. Snohomish County Emergency Management Director John Pennington told reporters late Monday that officials were working off a potential list of 176 people, but he stressed that authorities believed that included many duplicate names.

"I believe very strongly [176] is not a number we're going to see in fatalities," Pennington said. "I believe it's going to drop dramatically." However, other authorities said they have not been able to determine whether there were multiple calls about the same missing person.

The 1-square-mile mudslide struck Saturday morning near the town of Oso in Snohomish County. Authorities have described the search for additional survivors to be "grim" as crews battle uneven ground and rising waters. Monday’s search included specially trained dogs, firefighters, law enforcement, aircraft and search-and-rescue teams. Heavy equipment from the Washington State Department of Transportation helped to move trees, boulders and earth.

"I’m very disappointed to tell you that we didn’t find any sign of any survivors, and we found no survivors today,” Snohomish County Fire District 21 Chief Travis Hots Monday evening.

Pennington gave his own somber diagnosis, saying ""Most of us in these communities do not believe we'll find anyone alive." However, Pennington then added "I'm a man of faith and I believe in miracles."

Authorities believe that the slide destroyed 35 homes, as well as 13 manufactured homes, including RVs, and at least one cabin. Part of the difficulty in determining the exact number of missing people comes from authorities not knowing how many of the homes, some of which are kept for vacationing visitors, were occupied at the time of the slide. Authorities also believe some nonresidents may have been working in the area, while some victims may have been passing through in their cars on nearby State Highway 530.

Another obstacle has been the chaotic nature of the debris field itself. In some places, the ground is covered by 15 feet of rubble.

"It's muddy, in areas it's like quicksand," said Hots. "One of the folks out there told me, 'Chief, sometimes it takes five minutes to walk 40 or 50 feet.'" Searchers are also running into gasoline and septic discharge and dealing with ground that geologists warn remains unstable.

Rescuers' hopes of finding more survivors were buoyed late Saturday when they heard people yelling for help, but they were unable to reach anyone. The soupy mud was so thick and deep that searchers had to turn back.

Authorities believe the slide was caused by ground made unstable by recent heavy rainfall.

President Barack Obama signed a federal emergency declaration order for the area Monday, and members of the National Guard and urban search-and-rescue teams were en route to the area. Washington Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency Sunday.

At least seven homes in the area were still evacuated because of flooding risk as the Stillaguamish River east of the mudslide continued to slowly rise. Officials warned of flash flood potential as natural dams and debris broke through the river, but the risk was much lower than previous days.

Snohomish County officials said Sunday that residents could return home during daylight hours. Even though the evacuation had been lifted, Inslee urged residents to remain alert.

Bruce Blacker, who lives just west of the slide, doesn't know the whereabouts of six neighbors.

"It's a very close knit community," Blacker said as he waited at an Arlington roadblock before troopers let him through. There were almost 20 homes in the neighborhood that was destroyed, he said.

Evacuation shelters were set up at Post Middle School in Arlington and the Darrington Community Center.

Dane Williams, 30, who lives a few miles from the mudslide, spent Saturday night at a Red Cross shelter at the Arlington school.

He said he saw a few "pretty distraught" people at the shelter who didn't know the fate of loved ones who live in the stricken area.

"It makes me want to cry," Williams said Sunday.

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