Mudslide Death Toll Reaches New High
Stands at 27; 19 victims have been identified
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 1, 2014 11:12 AM CDT
A searcher walks through a channel of water as a flag flies in the debris field Monday, March 31, 2014, at the site of the massive mudslide that hit the community of Oso, Wash. on March 22, 2014.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

(Newser) – The official death toll from Washington's mudslide has increased to 27, with the Snohomish County medical examiner's office saying 19 victims have been positively identified. That's up from 24 dead with 18 identified yesterday. The latest name to the list is 58-year-old Brandy L. Ward of Arlington. Like the rest of the victims, she was killed by blunt force injuries in the March 22 slide. Workers are trying to improve the flow of the Stillaguamish River through the landslide at Oso to reduce flooding as they continue the grim task of recovering bodies.

And that's not the only challenge in front of them. Reuters reports that the hundreds of workers wading through armpit-deep mud face exposure to a bath of toxins. That's because everything from sewage to household solvents to propane is encased below the surface. Workers are using duct tape to close off the gap between their pants and boots and visit a decontamination station before exiting for the day, in a move designed to both protect the workers and keep the toxic contaminants from being carted elsewhere.

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Showing 3 of 5 comments
Ed_LV
Apr 1, 2014 4:19 PM CDT
April Fools!
K.KRANK
Apr 1, 2014 1:42 PM CDT
USGS has an amazing aerial shot of that landslide http://gallery.usgs.gov/images/03_26_2014/jne5HTs22B_03_26_2014/large/DSC_2347.JPG the trees on the side of the collapsed mountain look like ants. I think the area on the top right of the hill was logged before & looks like it has some growth coming back, but with fewer adult trees. Gotta wonder, was this a landslide indirectly 'caused' by over-logging? I heard there's talk the logging company cut outside an area they should have stopped at in order to ensure the mountain didn't collapse. But couple that with the heavy rains this winter in Washington state full of carbonic acid (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbonic_acid) in the rainwater from 400 ppm atmosphere CO2 concentrations & that's an unintended consequence formula for disaster for those poor people buried in that landslide ??
jerrymac90
Apr 1, 2014 12:42 PM CDT
"Mudslide Death Toll Reaches New High" God, but who thinks up these teasers? Is this an April Fool's joke on the part of the Newser's staff? OF COURSE the death toll reached a "new high", because they either found another victim or someone has died from their injuries. In fact, the death toll will hit "new highs" every time the body of those still missing are recovered or someone else dies. Hopefully those updates will be presented with a little more journalistic competence.