News / USA

US Mudslide Death Toll at 24, Scores Missing

Rescue workers, volunteers depart fire station in Darrington, Washington, March 26, 2014.
Rescue workers, volunteers depart fire station in Darrington, Washington, March 26, 2014.
VOA News
The death toll from last weekend's devastating mudslide in the western U.S. state of Washington has reached 24, but rescue workers are continuing their search for survivors.

More than 200 searchers picked their way through tons of mud, the remnants of houses and twisted cars for a fifth day Wednesday, looking and listening for signs of life. But with the quicksand-like mud, rescue leader Travis Hots said the search is difficult.

"It is slow going," he said. "It could take you about five minutes to walk 40 feet. And then you have got nails sticking out of the ground and things that can hurt you."

A total of 176 people continue to be listed as missing, although authorities say the list may include duplicate names or people who are alive, but whose whereabouts are unknown.

Rescue crews are using heavy equipment, high-tech cameras, search dogs and their bare hands to search the rubble for possible survivors and victims.

Last Saturday's landslide struck without warning when a hillside near the small town of Oso collapsed after several weeks of heavy rains.

On Tuesday, the Seattle Times newspaper published a report written by a geologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1999 that warned of the potential of "catastrophic failure" in the area affected by Saturday's landslide.
 
  • Brenda Moe looks on after placing a cross with a yellow ribbon for victims of the Oso, Washington mudslide on her front lawn in Darrington, Washington, March 27, 2014.
  • A searcher walks through a massive pile of debris at the scene of a deadly mudslide in Oso, Washington, March 27, 2014.
  • An excavator is used as search work continues in the mud and debris from a massive mudslide that struck Oso near Darrington, Washington, March 27, 2014.
  • Robin Youngblood smiles after embracing Snohomish County helicopter crew chief Randy Fay, who helped rescue her after a deadly mudslide in Washington, March 26, 2014.
  • Chief Warrant Officer Kevin Crisp, liaison officer for the Washington National Guard, coordinates the arrival of a search team at the site of the mudslide in Oso, Washington, March 26, 2014.
  • Community members unpack a truckload of donated goods from The Rock Church, Darrington, Washington, March 26, 2014.
  • Jammi Parris, a waitress at the Blue Bird Cafe, paints a yellow ribbon on a window in downtown Arlington, Washington, March 25, 2014.
  • Teresa Welter cries as she holds a candle at a vigil for mudslide victims in Arlington, Washington, March 25, 2014.
  • A searcher uses a small boat to look through debris from a deadly mudslide in Oso, Washington, March 25, 2014.
  • An aerial view of the area affected by a landslide near State Route 530 is seen in this photo provided by Governor Jay Inslee's office, taken near Oso, Washington March 23, 2014.
  • A emergency vehicle is parked as a landslide and debris block Highway 530 near Oso, Washington, March 23, 2014.
  • Officials survey a large mudslide that pushed debris and at least one house onto Highway 530 near Oso, Washington, March 22, 2014.

Some information for this report comes from AP and Reuters.

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