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Frantic Searching for Mudslide Survivors


In the western U.S., rescue crews are searching round-the-clock for survivors after a mudslide descended upon a California seaside town Monday, washing away cars, houses, and people.

Thirteen people are still missing in the town of La Conchita, about 112 kilometers northwest of Los Angeles. At least six people are confirmed dead from the tragedy spawned by several days of drenching rain in southern California.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is expected to tour the region Wednesday.

For a second straight night, rescue teams and residents fortunate enough to survive the landslide searched desperately through mounds of earth and the wreckage of homes and cars for any survivors.

Fifteen homes were destroyed and another sixteen were damaged in the mudslide.

Five days of record rainfall brought this hillside down with a deafening roar Monday, sending residents running and screaming.

Firefighters using chain saws, hoping to find survivors in one flattened home, discovered a woman's body. However, ten people have been pulled alive from the rubble so far.

Rescuers remain hopeful they might find more survivors, trapped in air pockets, but acknowledge they are running out of time.

In addition to using dogs trained to search for live victims as well as bodies, crews are turning to high-tech sensors called "life detectors," that can track vibrations more than seven meters deep in the mud.

Firefighters are also examining photos of La Conchita, taken before Monday, to identify places where homes once stood.

Meanwhile, survivors are picking through the mud, gathering whatever remains of their possessions they find.

And it has finally stopped raining. The U.S. National Weather Service says skies are expected to remain clear for the next several days.

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