Watch Crews Rescue a 4-Year-Old From the Mudslide
And other tales of survival
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Mar 26, 2014 2:41 PM CDT
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(Newser) – Positive news is hard to come by when it comes to the mudslide that wiped out a Washington state community, but footage is making the rounds today of a helicopter crew rescuing a 4-year-old boy from the muddy wreckage. Jacob Spillers was home with his two sisters, age 5 and 2, his stepfather, and his 13-year-old half-brother when the slide hit. The home was destroyed, and all were trapped inside, according to the Seattle Times.

Everyone except Jacob is still missing; the boy escaped because he was on the second floor. "Jacob told me he got out when nobody else was able to get out," his half-brother's father says. Jacob's mother, however, is alive and well, because she wasn't home at the time. The footage was shot Saturday, the day the slide hit; no survivors have been found in the days since. Other heartbreaking tales from survivors:

  • Gary "Mac" McPherson, 81, survived the landslide—even as it claimed his wife of 46 years, Linda, who was sitting right next to him, the LA Times reports. McPherson says he awoke sitting in the same chair, now crushed, with a ceiling beam across his lap, his house having been pushed 150 yards away. "He was able to dig a hole and see the sky," his daughter says. "The whole time, he was calling for my mom ... but she never responded."
  • US Navy Cmdr. L. John Regelbrugge III's body was found by his two brothers yesterday morning, his sister-in-law tells the Seattle Times. The 32-year veteran's remains were alongside his dog's. "His brother Greg put a work shirt over him. They said he had massive injuries, so at least he didn't suffer." His wife was found a short time later.

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Showing 3 of 5 comments
daveca
Mar 26, 2014 3:41 PM CDT
Whats really sad is this was AVOIDABLE The County was TOLD a disaster such as this would happen. The County had one of their Emergency Management folks on TV last night attempting to peddle away their responsibility for not doing anything. it was sad to see him attempting to find unscripted words to evade with. "Anything' includes such high tech and horribly expensive measures such as driving metal stakes in the ground to detect earth movement, or video cams on trees to detect changes in angles. You know, rocket science stuff
finkster
Mar 26, 2014 2:53 PM CDT
With all the tragedy associated with this event it was good to see these brave rescuers were able to save the little boy. But geologists have been saying that the mountain side was unstable for years, yet those warnings were ignored. My condolences to the families of the victims....RIP.
Tomorrows_Children
Mar 26, 2014 2:50 PM CDT
A little ray of sunshine in a room of gloom. Bravo to the rescuers.