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Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

March 26, 2014 at 1:09 PM

Grim search Wednesday reveals more bodies

OSO,  Snohomish County – Wednesday’s grim search of the Oso-area mudslide has revealed additional victims.

Some 200 emergency responders, volunteers who live in the area, heavy equipment operators and at least three dogs are looking through the gray debris on the west side of the slide area. Additional teams from Darrington are searching the east side, where a small pond is blocking their path.

“There are finds going on continually. They are finding people now,” said Steve Mason, a fire battalion chief from South Snohomish County, who is leading the westside operation.

Visibility is tough because wreckage is covered in gray muck. Backhoes scoop only partial loads and sometimes spread them on the ground, where several people examine for clues that could reveal whether a victim may be buried.

“People are under logs, mixed in. It’s a slow process,” Mason said.

Just then, a chainsaw toppled a tree, clearing an additional area to search.

Right now, the official count remains at 16 deaths, with an apparent eight bodies found but not recovered yet. That will likely change today.

From a hillside south of the river, searchers could be seen walking on planks across mud mounds to reach wrecked houses. At street level, workers hosed themselves off after shifts at what looks like three or four downed houses along state Highway 530.

At the gouged hill where the slide occurred, white markers have been set at the top of the raw cliff, so scientists can fly overhead and measure for any hint the ground will shift again.

Comments | More in General news, The Blotter | Topics: Oso mudslide


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