Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


US landslide death toll doubles to 8

24 March 2014, 07:03

Arlington - Searchers found five more bodies on Sunday in the sludge of a massive landslide in the north-western state of Washington, bringing the death toll to at least eight from the wall of debris that swept through a small riverside neighbourhood.

Four more bodies were discovered late on Sunday, said Snohomish County sheriff's Lieutenant Rob Palmer said. Earlier in the day, authorities said one body had been found on the debris field. Three people were already confirmed dead on Saturday.

More people remained missing, and authorities said the number was "fluid". Earlier on Sunday, they said it was at least 18, but that count came before additional bodies were discovered.

The mudslide that struck Saturday morning also critically injured several people and destroyed about 30 homes.

Crews were able to get out to the muddy, tree-strewn area after geologists flew over in a helicopter and determined it was safe enough for emergency responders and technical rescue personnel to search for possible survivors, Snohomish County Fire District 21 Chief Travis Hots said Sunday evening.

"We didn't see or hear any signs of life out there today," he said, adding that they did not search the entire debris field, only drier areas safe to traverse.

Despite that, Hots said crews were still in a "search and rescue mode. It has not gone to a recovery mode at this time".

He said the search would continue until nightfall, when conditions would become too dangerous.

Heavy rainfall

Several people, including an infant, were critically injured in the mudslide that hit Saturday morning about 88km north of Seattle. About 30 homes were destroyed.

Rescuers' hopes of finding more survivors had been buoyed late on Saturday when they heard people yelling for help from within the debris field, but they were unable to reach anyone. The mud was so thick and deep that searchers had to turn back.

The slide wiped through what neighbours described as a former fishing village of small homes - some nearly 100 years old.

Some of the missing may have been able to get out on their own, authorities said. The number unaccounted for could change because some people may have been in cars and on roads when the slide hit, Hots said.

Officials described the mudslide as "a big wall of mud and debris." It was reported about 18m deep in some areas.

Authorities believe the slide was caused by ground made unstable by recent heavy rainfall.

The slide blocked the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River. With the water pooling behind the debris, authorities worried about downstream flooding and issued an evacuation notice on Saturday. The water had begun to seep through the blockage on Sunday afternoon, alleviating some concerns.

Snohomish County officials said on Sunday that residents could return home during daylight hours.

John Pennington, director of Snohomish County Emergency Management Department, said there were concerns that the water could break downstream, as well as back up and flood areas upstream.

Shari Ireton, a spokesperson for the Snohomish County sheriff's office, said on Sunday that a total of eight people were injured in the slide.

A 6-month-old boy and an 81-year-old man remained in critical condition on Sunday morning at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Hospital spokesperson Susan Gregg said two men, ages 37 and 58, were in serious condition, while a 25-year-old woman was upgraded to satisfactory condition.

Bruce Blacker, who lives just west of the slide, doesn't know the whereabouts of six neighbours.

"It's a very close knit community," Blacker said as he waited at an Arlington roadblock before troopers let him through. There were almost 20 homes in the neighbourhood that was destroyed, he said.

- AP

Tags us weather

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...