Mudslide Survivor: Homes 'Exploded'

Amanda Skorjanc clung to baby as home was swept away

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 10, 2014 1:38 AM CDT

(Newser) – One of the few survivors to be pulled alive from the devastating mudslide in Washington state last month has described her harrowing ordeal for the first time. Amanda Skorjanc says she was at home with her 5-month-old son when she heard a terrifying sound and looked outside to see the huge mudslide coming down the hillside, the AP reports. "Houses were exploding. And the next thing I see is our neighbor's chimney coming into our front door." She gripped her son as the mudslide hit her home and found herself buried under debris about 700 feet away. "I held onto that baby like that was the only purpose that I had," she says.

It took six rescuers with chainsaws to free the pair from debris, the Seattle Times reports. Skorjanc, 25, suffered injuries including two broken legs and a broken arm. Her partner was out of the house on an errand when the mudslide hit, and she says she struggles with guilt because her family survived when others didn't. It will take Skorjanc around a year to recover from her injuries, doctors say, but her condition has been steadily improving along with that of her infant son, who suffered injuries including a fractured skull. "As he's been getting better, she's been getting better," her surgeon says. The death toll from the mudslide rose to 36 yesterday, with 10 people still listed as missing, Reuters reports.

Skorjanc's 5-month-old son Duke is recovering from serious injuries.   (AP Photo/Courtesy of Amanda Skorjanc and Ty Suddarth)
Washington mudslide survivor Amanda Skorjanc, 25, talks to the media while sitting in her hospital bed in Seattle.   (AP Photo/The Herald, Dan Bates, Pool)
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