Rescue workers in the California town of La Conchita have recovered 10 bodies from houses crushed in a mudslide Monday. Flooding in other parts of the state has killed at least nine people in two weeks of record rainfall. Eight people remain missing in the small coastal town of La Conchita.
After working through the night, emergency workers discovered the bodies of a mother and her three daughters early Wednesday, dashing the hopes of a father who had been digging through the rubble with the firefighters.
Rescuers used sensitive microphones and fiber optic cameras in their search for signs of life under the debris. By early Wednesday, no sounds had been heard for 24 hours, but Ventura County Fire Chief Bob Roper said workers would continue searching empty spaces until they exhaust all hope of finding survivors.
"Once we know there are no more voids and we're not getting any sounds, then we'll start making the decisions to go into recovery mode," he said.
Ten people were injured Monday as a wall of mud crashed down on the small coastal community 100 kilometers northwest of Los Angeles. Fifteen houses were destroyed and 16 were damaged.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger toured the neighborhood Wednesday and praised the hundreds of rescue workers on the scene.
"They have been working around the clock and they've been using state-of-the-art equipment in order to find survivors," said Mr. Schwarzenegger. "So far, they have rescued 10 people."
Two weeks of rain, which ended Tuesday, broke a century-old record, dropping more than 40 centimeters of rain on Los Angeles, more than the region normally gets through the whole winter. Among the fatalities was a two-year-old child who slipped from her mother's arms into raging floodwaters.
The storms have also caused flooding that destroyed homes in Arizona and Utah and heavy snowfall that blocked roads in mountain communities from California to Colorado.