Search crews sifted through new parts of mudslide wreckage Thursday after receding water levels on the east side of the slide area uncovered debris that previously had been inaccessible.
Flood waters from the backed-up Stillaguamish River had made it difficult or impossible for crews to spot the pancaked homes and crushed cars they found Thursday.
“This side is totally different from the other,” said Jamal Beckham of the Monroe Fire Department before heading back into the wreckage sitting on top of Highway 530. ”There’s huge floating pieces of debris we’re poking around.”
In addition to exposing new debris, Beckham said the lower water levels have made it easier for crews to lift up cars or insert underwater cameras to see if anyone is inside.
Dogs are out on boats today helping crews pinpoint where to search.
Crews on the southeast portion of the slide area concentrated excavators on an area with a crushed car that had been pulled out of the muck. As of Thursday afternoon, it was unclear if they had discovered any new victims.
Elaine and Don Young, a couple whose house remains unscathed at the southeastern edge of the slide, continued their sixth day assisting search crews and volunteers with whatever they need. A volunteer command post they created on a ridge overlooking a swamp of debris holds water, food and fuel.
“I just support them and take down anything they need — could be more diesel, battery chargers, saws,” said Elaine Young, before hopping onto a muddy ATV heading back into the muck.
The couple and volunteers said crews were getting a lot done on Thursday even as it rained throughout the day.
A road that crews have been using to transport the biggest machinery was re-opened after a dump truck slipped off it yesterday.
“They’re making a lot of great progress,” said one volunteer, who did not want to give his name, as he ran fuel down to crews with an excavator. “And we’re getting all the support anyone could hope for.”