Up to 24 Mudslide Victims Found

Disaster spared man, killed wife sitting beside him

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 26, 2014 12:53 AM CDT | Updated Mar 26, 2014 7:54 AM CDT

(Newser) – Some 16 bodies have now been recovered from a huge mudslide in Washington state and rescuers believe they have spotted at least eight more bodies in the debris. The number listed as missing stood at 176 yesterday but officials believe names have been duplicated and the number has been falling and rising so much it is hard to get an accurate count, CNN reports. Snohomish County's emergency management director says rescuers still hope they will find survivors from Saturday's disaster. "I believe in miracles, and I believe people can survive these events. They've done it before and they can do it again," he told reporters.

Hundreds of people, assisted by rescue dogs and technologies including sonar, have joined the search but officials warn that bad weather will make the search even more challenging as the week goes on. As more victims are found, more tragic stories are emerging. Gary McPherson, 81, was sitting with his wife, separated only by an end table, when the mudslide shattered their home, the Seattle Times reports. He managed to dig himself out of the mud but rescuers found the lifeless body of wife Linda nearby.

Rescue workers carry an inflatable boat to the flooded area in the debris field caused by the massive mudslide above the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River.
Rescue workers carry an inflatable boat to the flooded area in the debris field caused by the massive mudslide above the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River.   (AP Photo/The Seattle Times, Marcus Yam)
A damaged home sits in the debris field caused by Saturday's massive mudslide above the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River.
A damaged home sits in the debris field caused by Saturday's massive mudslide above the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River.   (AP Photo/The Seattle Times, Marcus Yam)
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