A list of those reported missing following a landslide in rural Washington state includes 108 names, emergency officials said Monday. But that doesn’t mean all of them were killed in Saturday’s disaster north of Seattle, Snohomish County Emergency Management Director John Pennington said. The official death toll remains at eight with seven others hurt, he said. Until Monday, the number of people unaccounted for was reported to be 18. Over 100 missing in Washington landslide Number of missing in landslide skyrockets Police: This is ‘total devastation’ Death toll rises in Washington landslide. The landslide covered about a square mile and was caused by groundwater saturation tied to heavy rain in the area over the past month. It affected the towns of Oso, a remote community of about 180, and Darrington, a town of about 1,350. SEE MORE AFTER CUT>>>>>
Pennington said the slide over a weekend made it more of a challenge for rescuers since more people were apt to be home than on a weekday. The affected area includes 35 traditionally built houses, 13 manufactured homes and RVs, and a cabin, Pennington said at a news conference. About half were occupied full time, while some others were vacation homes. Victims could also include “contractors and other workers” in the neighborhood as well as others who were “driving by,” he said. Authorities have worked feverishly to find survivors. “Total devastation. I mean, it’s just unbelievable. It reminds me of what a tornado looks like when it’s touched the ground,” Snohomish County Sheriff Ty Trenary said. At one point, he pointed at a pile of muddy rubble. “You can tell from the debris this appears to be part of somebody’s kitchen, the inside of the house,” he said.
Trenary said rescue crews worked both sides of the slide. Authorities also used helicopters to try to identify heat signatures, or people who may have been able to get free, he said.
But such work is complicated.