With at least 18 people still missing and hundreds waiting to hear about the fate of loved ones in a mile-wide mudslide, Snohomish County Executive John Lovick said rescuers haven’t reported hearing any voices from the slide area since Saturday night.
“The anxiety of that is beyond description,” Gov. Jay Inslee said at a noon news conference.
Inslee thanked rescuers and said he was in awe at the destruction from the mudslide that destroyed as many as 60 homes Saturday.
“The devastation is just unrelenting and awesome. There is no stick standing in the path of the slide,” Inslee said after flying over the area. “But there is another powerful force of nature, and that is empathy and compassion.”
He thanked the people of Washington for the help already offered. Sen. Patty Murray, also at the noon news conference, said the best way to help is with monetary donations to the Red Cross.
Both also thanked rescuers, several of whom had to be rescued themselves after being buried up to their armpits in mud as they tried to reach victims.
“People have been putting their own lives at risk in the search and rescue,” Murray noted.
Inslee said the coordinated effort among Snohomish County, the state and the federal government has been seamless, and there are no missing pieces.
At a news briefing, Inslee assured one worried resident — who said her uncle is missing — that there was a “full-scale 100 percent rescue effort right now” but acknowledged that the “slurry” of mud and debris was too unstable for crews to negotiate.
Fire Chief Travis Hots said that as of noon today, “We don’t have anybody on top of the pile” of debris, which the governor described as a “million square feet” of debris.