Search for Survivors in Washington Mudslide Continues

Searcher Shayne Barco and his dog Stratus look through debris following a deadly mudslide, Tuesday, March 25, 2014, in Oso, Wash. At least 14 people were killed in the 1-square-mile slide that hit in a rural area about 55 miles northeast of Seattle on Saturday. Several people also were critically injured, and homes were destroyed. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Searcher Shayne Barco and his dog Stratus look through debris following a deadly mudslide, Tuesday, March 25, 2014, in Oso, Wash. At least 14 people were killed in the 1-square-mile slide that hit in a rural area about 55 miles northeast of Seattle on Saturday. Several people also were critically injured, and homes were destroyed. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

ARLINGTON, Washington (AP) — Rescuers using small bulldozers and their bare hands pushed through sludge strewn with splintered homes and twisted cars to find 10 more bodies in the debris of a Washington state mudslide, authorities said.
Despite the grim discoveries as the search entered its fifth day Wednesday — and the likelihood that more bodies will be found — officials were still hoping to find survivors.

“We haven’t lost hope that there’s a possibility that we can find somebody alive in some pocket area,” said Travis Hots, a county fire chief.

Two bodies were recovered Tuesday, while eight were located in the debris field from Saturday’s slide 55 miles (88 kilometers) northeast of Seattle, Hots said.
That brings the likely death toll to 24, though authorities are keeping the official toll at 16 until the eight other bodies are recovered.

With scores still missing, authorities are working off a list of 176 people unaccounted for, though some names were believed to be duplicates.
Hundreds of rescuers and heavy equipment operators slogged through the muck and rain, following the search dogs over the unstable surface.

“Going on the last three days the most effective tool has been dogs and just our bare hands and shovels uncovering people,” Hots said.

The grim discoveries further demoralized the four-day search, as the threat of flash floods or another landslide loomed over the rescuers.
With scores still missing, authorities are working off a list of 176 people unaccounted for, though some names were believed to be duplicates.

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Authorities said that number will change and an update would be available on Wednesday, because the nearby logging town of Darrington’s power was restored and more people have called in.

Footage showed caterpillars removing debris from residential areas and rescue workers at the scene.

About 30 homes were destroyed, and the debris blocked a 1-mile (1.6 kilometre) stretch of state highway after the 1-square-mile (2.6-square-kilometre) slide on Saturday destroyed the small community of Oso, about 55 miles (90 kilometres) northeast of Seattle.

Report compiled with information from The Associated Press.