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Watch Crews Rescue a 4-Year-Old From the Mudslide

And other tales of survival

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

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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