At about 10:50 am on Saturday, residents near the Stillaguamish River in Arlington, Wash. were caught in a vicious mudslide. Local authorities claim that it was likely brought on by heavy rains from last month.
The terrifying incident took place just forty miles north of Seattle and resulted in the destruction of several homes.
Snohomish County officials said in a statement that prior to the mudslide they'd encouraged local citizens to voluntarily evacuate.
Three people were killed as a result of the mudslide. The bodies of two victims were discovered at the scene. Tragically, a third individual died of their injuries in an area hospital. The names of the deceased have not been released to the public at this time.
Five others remain in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, including an 81-year-old man and 6-month-old boy. At Cascade Valley Hospital in Arlington there are four individuals who were treated, three of which reported minor injuries. One patient was released.
A 68-year-old unidentified man was treated at Skagit Valley Hospital for fractures to his lower body.
Hoping the rescue teams can reach those that are trapped due to a mudslide in Washington. Have you heard about this? http://t.co/CtDTJ5Gvmt
— WOKV News (@WOKVNews) March 23, 2014
UPDATE: Cries for help still heard in area buried in deadly mudslide near Oso, Washington as search continues tonight http://t.co/zAEQeUwHYp
— Johnny Kelly (@stormchaser4850) March 23, 2014
The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department issued a statement that following the mudslide, emergency responders searched the debris all Saturday afternoon and into the evening for additional victims. They received help from the U.S. Navy in their efforts. The search and rescue effort is likely to continue well into Sunday.
As for the site of the deadly mudslide, it was said to have measured approximately 45 by 60 yards.
Even now there are concerns that the worst may not be over for area residents
A flood warning has been issued for the region by the National Weather Service, though some experts say a massive flood is unlikely.
The mixture of debris left by the mudslide is now acting as a sort of dam, but it's uncertain how long it will hold. Should flood waters break through the debris, it's possible even more lives could be threatened.
Image via Wikimedia Commons