Hope Dims as Wash. Landslide Search Continues


Rescue workers continued to search Monday for survivors of the massive mudslide in Washington state Saturday that left at least eight people dead and more than a dozen missing.

Rescue crews worked through the night, digging through mud at least 15 feet deep in some areas.

"The conditions are very, very muddy in places. It is still like quicksand. Other areas are just not accessible at this time," Snohomish County Fire District 21 Chief Travis Hots said.

Authorities believe the slide was caused by recent heavy rain. At least 30 homes were destroyed or damaged when the side of the mountain came crashing down.

Snohomish County Sheriff Ty Trenary described the aftermath as "total devastation."

"I mean it's just unbelievable," he said. "It reminds me of what a tornado looks like when it's touched the ground."

"There really is no stick standing in the path of the slide," Gov. Jay Inslee said.

The mud covers about one square mile.

Some, like Sean Wright, were able to get out on their own. He quickly went from being a victim to a first responder when he heard people crying for help.

"Screams, people sounded… at one point I heard a baby scream," he recalled.

Wright and several other people were able to use chain saws to get the mother and baby out of the remains of their home.

"Where we got her was just debris," Wright said. "You couldn't tell anything about the houses -- it was just all debris."

Crews have not been able to search the entire area of debris, only the areas determined to be safe enough to move across.

Officials said they're still in search and rescue mode right now. But as more time passes without finding anyone alive, it will move to a recovery mission.

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