4th UPDATE — Number of missing drops from 90 to 30, confirmed mudslide death toll rises to 18, as grim searchers work in rain and muck
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
Searchers pause for a moment of silence at the scene of the deadly mudslide.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
Searchers pause for a moment of silence at the scene of the deadly mudslide.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
Workers and volunteers observe a moment of silence outside of the Oso Fire Department at 10:37 a.m. Saturday, exactly one week after a fatal mudslide struck just east of the small community.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
Rescue workers continue to search the muck and debris left by the Oso mudslide along State Route 530 near Darrington.
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The Associated Press
A customer rests her hands on a tee-shirt for sale at an Arlington sporting goods store, with proceeds to be directed to victims of the deadly landslide.
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Seattle Times/Mike Siegel via The Associated Press
Members of the Air Force National Guard including Major Tawny Dotson, left, and Master Sgt. Chris Martin are assisting with search and rescue efforts at the Oso mudslide.
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The Associated Press
A mangled vehicle sticks up amid debris pulled from the west site of the mudslide on Highway 530 near mile marker 37 on Friday.
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The Associated Press (Click on photo to enlarge)
Workers help clear and sort the remains of houses at the west site of the mudslide on Highway 530 near mile marker 37 on Friday.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
A worker carries bags of personal belongings collected from debris at the scene of the deadly mudslide.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
Workers use heavy equipment to clear trees and other debris Thursday as the search continued for victims of the massive mudslide near Oso.
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The Associated Press (Click on photo to enlarge)
Four search and rescue workers wade through water covering State Highway 530 on Thursday.
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The Associated Press
Snohomish County Fire District 1 battalion chief Steve Mason speaks with the news media on Friday near the site of the deadly mudslide.
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Seattle Times/Marcus Yam via The Asociated Press
Firefighters help unload publicly donated equipment to aid the search and rescue operations in the aftermath of the massive mudslide.
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The New York Times (Click on graphic to enlarge)
This graphic uses a 2012 aerial photo to outline Saturday's mudslide and the houses it ruined. State Highway 530 and the Stillaguamish River also are shown. This graphic also can be accessed at www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/03/23/us/washington-mudslide.html
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
A military helicopter flies Thursday, March 27, 2014, over mud and debris from the massive mudslide.
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The Associated Press
A cross at the Oso Community Chapel is decorated with flowers in dedication to mudslide victims.
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The Associated Press
Searchers work on a massive pile of debris on Thursday.
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The Associated Press
A searcher walks through the area hit by the deadly mudslide.
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The Associated Press (To enlarge, click on photo)
Searchers on Thursday work at the scene of the deadly mudslide.
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The Seattle Times/Marcus Yam via The Associated Press
Darrington volunteer firefighters (from left) Jeff McClelland, Jan McClelland and Eric Finzimer embrace Wednesday after saying a prayer. The town's volunteer firefighters have been on searches in the mudslide zone since Saturday.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
A searcher tries to keep balance while walking through debris at the scene of the deadly mudslide.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
Searchers watch as a piece of heavy equipment slowly moves debris at the scene of the deadly mudslide.
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The Associated Press (Click on photo to enlarge)
Workers carrying hand tools walk into a debris area at the scene of the deadly mudslide.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
A flag, put up by volunteers helping search the area, stands in the ruins of a home.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
"We haven't lost hope that there's a possibility that we can find somebody alive in some pocket area," said Snohomish County District 21 Fire Chief Travis Hots.
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The Associated Press
Rescue workers remove one of a number of bodies from the wreckage of homes destroyed by a mudslide near Oso.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
Thick, oozing mud is cleared from States Highway 530 by workers using heavy equipment.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
A search and rescue worker clears debris from a house on the western edge of the massive mudslide.
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The Associated Press
A volunteer arrives at the Oso Fire Department.
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The Associated Press
The massive mudslide that killed at least eight people and left dozens missing is shown in this aerial photo, taken Monday near Oso.
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The Seattle Times via The Associated Press (Click on photo to enlarge)
An aerial photo of the mudslide near the Snohomish County town of Oso.
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The Associated Press/The Herald, Genna Martin
Brian Anderson, left, and Coby Young on Sunday search through the wreckage of a home belonging to the Kuntz family. The entire Kuntz family was at a baseball game Saturday morning when the mudslide swept through the area. The family returned Sunday to search through what remained.
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The Associated Press/The Herald, Genna Martin
A woman holds family photos pulled from the rubble at the site of the mudslide.
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The Associated Press/The Seattle Times, Lindsey Wasson
The orange X on a house destroyed in the mudslide indicates it has been searched by searchers.
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(Everett) Daily Herald via The Associated Press (Click on photo to enlarge)
An aerial photo of Saturday's mudslide damage in rural Snohomish County near Oso.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
The huge mudslide in rural Snohomish County near Oso on Saturday.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
The huge mudslide in rural Snohomish County near Oso on Saturday.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
The huge mudslide in rural Snohomish County near Oso on Saturday.
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The Seattle Times via The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
Robin Youngblood survived the landslide that destroyed her house next to the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River. She is holding the only item that survived the disaster, a painting of a Cherokee warrior that was knocked from the wall and muddied. "It saved us." she said.
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The Associated Press
A sign is placed to direct those in need to a Red Cross shelter at Post Middle School in Arlington.
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(Everett) Daily Herald via Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
Neighbors gather at the Oso Fire Department to look for updates about the mudslide.
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(Everett) Daily Herald via Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
Neighbors gather at the Oso Fire Department to look for updates about the mudslide.
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(Everett) Daily Herald via Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
A woman collapses as neighbors gather at the Oso Fire Department to look for updates about the mudslide.
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The Associated Press
A demolished house sits in the mud on State Highway 530 on Sunday, the day after the giant landslide occurred.
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The Associated Press/The Herald, Genna Martin
Steve Skaglund walks across the rubble on the east side of Saturday's fatal mudslide.
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The Seattle Times/Marcus Yam via The Associated Press
At Darrington High School, local residents reach out and pray with one another at a community prayer vigil for the victims and survivors of the massive mudslide.
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The Associated Press
Workers comb through debri at the site of the deadly mudslide.
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The Associated Press (click on photo to enlarge)
Workers at the mudslide site before stopping for a moment of silence on Saturday

By JONATHAN J. COOPER and LISA BAUMANN
The Associated Press

UPDATED — 5 from Oso mudslide remain in Seattle hospital
SEATTLE — A 58-year-old man who was injured in the Oso landslide is back in the intensive care unit Friday following surgery to repair his pelvis at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

He had been in satisfactory condition Thursday but the hospital says it's common for that to change to serious following very long surgery. His condition is stable.

Four others injured in the landslide remain in the hospital.

A 5-month-old boy injured in the mudslide has been updated from critical to serious condition and is breathing on his own, Harborview Medical Center spokeswoman Susan Gregg said.

The baby's mother is in satisfactory condition, Gregg said.

Three other people are hospitalized with injuries sustained in the slide.



A 5-month old boy remains in critical condition in intensive care. His 25-year-old mother is in satisfactory condition.

An 81-year-old man is in serious condition in intensive care. And a 37-year-old man is in satisfactory condition.
EDITOR'S NOTE — A list with photos of known victims of the mile-wide mudslide near Oso — persons confirmed missing or dead by authorities or families — can be accessed at http://seattletimes.com/flatpages/local/victimsoftheosomudslide.html

Related story: "Snohomish County mudslide — how to donate to victims, how to report someone missing": http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20140328/NEWS/303289959


DARRINGTON‚— As crews using heavy equipment, dogs and their bare hands searched in heavy rain for more victims from the deadly mudslide in rural Snohomish County, authorities said Saturday that the number of people believed missing had dropped substantially.

The missing list decreased from 90 to 30 a week after the slide swept through homes in the small mountainside community of Oso about 55 miles northeast of Seattle.

Officials previously said they expected that figure to fall as they worked to find people safe and cross-referenced a “fluid” list that likely included partial reports and duplicates.

As the number of people unaccounted for went down, the fatalities went up.

The official death toll of victims identified by the medical examiner on Saturday increased by one, to 18, said Jason Biermann, program manager at the Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management.

Authorities have recovered more than two dozen bodies — including one on Saturday — but they aren’t added to the official tally until a formal identification is made.

Underscoring the difficulty of identifying those killed in one of the deadliest landslides in U.S. history, Biermann said crews are not always discovering complete remains.

“Rescuers are not always making full recoveries,” he said. “Often, they are making partial recoveries.”

A week after the landslide, the search was going “all the way to the dirt” as crews looked for anything to provide answers for family and friends.

All work on the debris field halted briefly Saturday for a moment of silence to honor those lost. Gov. Jay Inslee had asked people across Washington to pause at 10:37 a.m., the time the huge slide struck on March 22.

“People all over stopped work — all searchers — in honor of that moment,” Snohomish County Fire District 1 battalion chief Steve Mason said.

An American flag had been run up a tree and then down to half-staff at the debris site, he said.

Among the dozens of missing are Adam Farnes, and his mother, Julie.

“He was a giant man with a giant laugh,” Kellie Howe said of Farnes. Howe became friends with him when he moved to the area from Alaska. She said Adam Farnes was the kind of guy who would come into your house and help you do the dishes.

Adam Farnes also played the banjo, drums and bass guitar, she said, and had worked as a telephone lineman and a 911 dispatcher.

“He loved his music loud,” she said.

Finding and identifying all the victims could stretch on for a very long time, and authorities have warned that not everyone may ultimately be accounted for.

Rescuers have given a cursory look at the entire debris field, said Steve Harris, division supervisor for the eastern incident management team. They are now sifting through the rest of the fragments, looking for places where dogs should give extra attention.

Only “a very small percentage” has received the more thorough examination, he said.

Dogs working four-hour shifts have been the most useful tool, Harris said, but they’re getting hypothermic in the rain and muck.

Commanders are making sure people have the right gear to stay safe in the rain and potentially hazardous materials, and they’re keeping a close eye on the level of the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River to be sure nobody is trapped by rising water.

At the debris site Saturday, Mason, the battalion chief, said teams first do a hasty search of any wreckage of homes they find. If nothing is immediately discovered, they do a more detailed, forensic search.

“We go all the way to the dirt,” he said.

Crews are also collecting bags of personal belongings that would later be cleaned, sorted and hopefully returned to families.

“What we found out here is everything from pictures to gun safes,” Mason said.

The huge wall of earth that crashed into the collection of homes followed weeks of heavy rain.

A week later, only local volunteers like Joe Wright are now being allowed to help rescuers.

A resident of the nearby town of Darrington set up his tool-sharpening operation near the firehouse. He’s been busy. In a little more than a day, he estimated he had sharpened more than 150 chainsaw chains dulled by rocks and dirt.

“There were people using their own saws,” Wright said. “They’re just trying to get down there to get the job done.”

Dan Rankin, mayor of Darrington, said the community had been “changed forevermore.”

“It’s going to take a long time to heal, and the likelihood is we will probably never be whole,” he said.

























DARRINGTON — The number of those believed missing following the deadly mudslide in rural Snohomish County has plummeted to 30 after many people were found safe, authorities said late Saturday.

Officials previously set the number of missing people at 90, but said they expected that figure to drop dramatically as they worked to find people and cross-referenced a list that included partial reports and duplicates.

The confirmed death toll rose by one, to 18, Jason Biermann, program manager at the Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management, said at a Saturday evening briefing.

The search by heavy equipment, dogs and bare hands for victims from the slide was going "all the way to the dirt" as crews looked for anything to provide answers for family and friends a week after a small mountainside community was destroyed.

All work on the debris field halted briefly Saturday for a moment of silence to honor those lost.

Gov. Jay Inslee had asked people across Washington to pause at 10:37 a.m., the time the huge slide struck on March 22, destroying a neighborhood in the community of Oso, about 55 miles northeast of Seattle.

"People all over stopped work — all searchers — in honor of that moment, so people we are searching for know we are serious," Snohomish County Fire District 1 battalion chief Steve Mason said.

An American flag had been run up a tree and then down to half-staff at the debris site, he said.

Dan Rankin, mayor of the nearby logging town of Darrington, said the community had been "changed forevermore."

"It's going to take a long time to heal, and the likelihood is we will probably never be whole," he said.

Among the dozens of missing are a man in his early 20s, Adam Farnes, and his mother, Julie.

"He was a giant man with a giant laugh," Kellie Howe said of Farnes. Howe became friends with him when he moved to the area from Alaska. She said Adam Farnes was the kind of guy who would come into your house and help you do the dishes.

Adam Farnes also played the banjo, drums and bass guitar, she said, and had worked as a telephone lineman and a 911 dispatcher.

"He loved his music loud," she said.

Finding and identifying all the victims could stretch on for a very long time, and authorities have warned that not everyone may ultimately be accounted for after one of the deadliest landslides in U.S. history.

Rescuers have given a cursory look at the entire debris field, said Steve Harris, division supervisor for the eastern incident management team.

They are now sifting through the rest of the fragments, looking for places where dogs should give extra attention. Only "a very small percentage" has received the more thorough examination, he said.

Dogs working four-hour shifts have been the most useful tool, Harris said, but they're getting hypothermic in the rain and muck.

Commanders are making sure people have the right gear to stay safe in the rain and potentially hazardous materials, and they're keeping a close eye on the level of the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River to be sure nobody is trapped by rising water.

At the debris site Saturday, Mason, the battalion chief, said teams first do a hasty search of any wreckage of homes they find. If nothing is immediately discovered, they do a more detailed, forensic search.

"We go all the way to the dirt," he said.

Crews are also collecting bags of personal belongings that would later be cleaned, sorted and hopefully returned to families.

"What we found out here is everything from pictures to gun safes," Mason said. "Anything you would have at your house."

The huge wall of earth that crashed into the collection of homes followed weeks of heavy rain.

Previous slides triggered by storms included one that killed 150 people in Virginia in the wake of Hurricane Camille in 1969 and another that killed 129 when rain from Tropical Storm Isabel loosened tons of mud that buried the Puerto Rican community of Mameyes in 1985.

A dam in San Francisquito Canyon, Calif., collapsed in 1928, causing an abutment to give way and killing 500 people, according to data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Crews pleaded with the public not to show up and try to help. Only local volunteers are being allowed to help rescuers.

Joe Wright of Darrington set up his tool-sharpening operation near the firehouse. He's been busy. In a little more than a day, he estimated he had sharpened more than 150 chainsaw chains dulled by rocks and dirt.

"There were people using their own saws," Wright said. "They're just trying to get down there to get the job done."

Last modified: March 29. 2014 8:43PM
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