Fourteen people have been confirmed dead at the giant landslide that occurred last Saturday at the Darrington and Oso areas of Washington, after six more bodies have been discovered. However, the identities still need to be verified.
Aside from the confirmed dead, many residents were also injured and more than 100 properties were destroyed. A mile-long stretch of land in Route 530 was also blocked due to debris.
The towns were hit by a 1-square mile slide that tore through the rural area 55 miles northeast of Seattle. The landslide was caused by a hillside that collapsed after being soaked in rain.
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Snohomish County Fire District 21’s Chief, Travis Hots, says that “the situation is grim” and that they have not found anybody alive since Saturday.
On Monday, 108 names of missing and unaccounted for have been submitted to emergency officials. Most of the people missing are residents, construction workers, and people driving by.
The list of missing people contains detailed information, but many are also vague, with some descriptions saying, “I met him once. I think he lived over there.”
Officials are encouraging people to call a Snohomish County hotline so they can update their database.
There are over 100 emergency responders at the scene, but additional state and federal resources like technical rescue experts and search dogs are joining to help the recovery efforts. The Washington State Department of Transportation is sending heavy equipment to clear the mud.
President Barack Obama ordered US government assistance after signing an emergency declaration.
The search for victims continued on Monday as quicksand-like conditions affected relief works on Sunday. Some workers had to be pulled to safety as the mud reached the armpits. Movement along a stretch of earth near the slide area was also detected.
The Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management remains optimistic, and believes that the number of people missing would “drop dramatically.”
Aerial view of Oso landslide
Image via Twitter