Search Goes On For Wash. State Deadly Mudslide Survivors - New York News

Search Goes On For Wash. State Deadly Mudslide Survivors

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Photo: Pierce County Fire & Rescue Photo: Pierce County Fire & Rescue

At least 14 people are now dead after heavy rains caused a mudslide about 55 miles northeast of Seattle.

It's still unclear how many are missing, with the list of potentially unaccounted for persons rising to more than 176.

Many expressed shock as the mountainside crumbled in front of them on Saturday morning.

Police released 9-1-1 calls from witnesses to the devastation:

9-1-1 Caller: "There's like a mudslide and everything's gone. The houses are gone!"

9-1-1 Caller: "All I see is dirt now. We watched hundreds of trees come falling."

9-1-1 Caller: "I can't believe this ... Oh my God."

The community came together at a vigil to remember those lost, and pray for anyone who might still be trapped.

"Very emotional, just, don't take life for granted," Arlington resident Mike Jensen said.

Scores of people remain unaccounted for as rescue crews work in dangerous, messy conditions.

The mudslide took out more than two-dozen houses at a time when many people were home.

"If this had been a week day, chances are that a lot more people would have been at work, or traveling on 530 heading out of danger, but we were dealt with what we were dealt with," Dem Director John Pennington said.

The mud is 15-feet thick in some places of the one-square-mile slide.

It's been described as feeling like quicksand.

"I just want them to bring my daughter home and get her out of the mud. I just want to hold her," Rae Smith said.

The images of recoveries are striking as the search goes on; a family finding their dog in the debris, and first-responders taking a photo just moments after saving a 4-year-old boy nearly drowning in the muck.

"I took all his clothes off because he was freezing and wrapped him up," Robin Youngblood, the boy's neighbor, said.

The search effort is being hampered by a host of issues, including septic discharges, and officials add the ground is still unstable.

More rain is predicted in the area for the next several days.

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