Toll Hits 8 in Huge Wash. Mudslide

Hope fading for dozen people still missing

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 24, 2014 2:49 AM CDT

(Newser) – Hopes are fading for people still believed to be trapped under mud and debris after a massive landslide in Washington state. At least eight people have now been confirmed dead from the mudslide that destroyed dozens of houses in a neighborhood along the Stillaguamish River, the Seattle Times reports. At least a dozen people are still missing, but rescue workers say they didn't see or hear any signs of life after working throughout the day.

But despite the lack of signs of life in the debris field, the operation is still in "search and rescue mode," a local fire chief says. "It has not gone to a recovery mode at this time." Rescuers had to pull back early yesterday until geologists told them it was safe to return, the AP reports. "We have this huge square-mile mudflow that's basically like quicksand," the fire chief says. At least eight people were injured in the slide Saturday morning, which officials describe as a "a big wall of mud and debris" caused by ground made unstable by recent rainfall.

A helicopter flies low over the mudslide-affected area in Oso, Wash.
A helicopter flies low over the mudslide-affected area in Oso, Wash.   (AP Photo /The Herald, Genna Martin)
Steve Skaglund walks across the rubble on the east side of Saturday's fatal mudslide near Oso, Wash.
Steve Skaglund walks across the rubble on the east side of Saturday's fatal mudslide near Oso, Wash.   (AP Photo /The Herald, Genna Martin)
Water and mud back up on the east side of Saturday's fatal mudslide near Oso, Wash.
Water and mud back up on the east side of Saturday's fatal mudslide near Oso, Wash.   (AP Photo /The Herald, Genna Martin)
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