Search for Washington Mudslide Survivors Grows


The search for survivors of a deadly mudslide grew Monday to include 108 people still unaccounted for, raising fears that the death toll could climb far beyond the eight confirmed fatalities.

“The situation is very grim,” Snohomish County Fire District 21 Chief Travis Hots said, stressing that authorities are still in rescue mode. But he noted: “We have not found anyone alive on this pile since Saturday.”

About 30 houses were destroyed. Debris blocked a mile-long stretch of highway about 55 miles northeast of Seattle.

Adding to the worries was the timing of the mudslide, Saturday morning, a time when most people are at home. Of the 49 structures in the neighborhood, authorities believe at least 25 were full-time residences.

An overnight search of the debris field turned up no other fatalities, Hots said. Monday’s search was to include aircraft, dogs and heavy equipment.

Retired firefighter Gail Moffett, who lives in nearby Oso, said she knows about 25 people who are missing, including entire families with young children.

“It’s safe to say I’ll know everyone affected or who they are,” Moffett said. “There’s so much pain going on in the community right now.”