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Sunday 21 September 2014

108 unaccounted for after mudslide

Published 24/03/2014 | 05:22

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A search helicopter flies above the area where a fatal mudslide washed over the land near Oso, Washington (AP/The Herald, Genna Martin)
One of the houses destroyed by a landslide that hit the Snohomish County area of Washington state in the US (AP/Seattle Times)

There are 108 names on the list of people who have been reported missing or unaccounted for in the weekend mudslide in Washington state, authorities said.

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Snohomish County emergency management director John Pennington said it is the consolidated list from various sources that authorities are working from, and it does not mean there are that many injuries or fatalities.

"It's a soft 108," Mr Pennington said at a news conference.

Among the possible missing are construction workers coming into the neighbourhood and people just driving by. Mr Pennington added the slide occurred on a Saturday morning, when more people were likely to be home.

An overnight search turned up no additional survivors or fatalities.

"The situation is very grim," Snohomish county fire district 21 chief Travis Hots said on Monday morning.

He stressed that authorities are still in rescue mode and are holding out hope, but noted: "We have not found anyone alive on this pile since Saturday."

At least eight people were killed in the one-square-mile (2.6-square-kilometre) slide that hit in a rural area about 55 miles (80 kilometres) north east of Seattle. Several people were also critically injured, and about 30 homes were destroyed.

Of the 49 structures in the neighbourhood hit by the slide, authorities believe at least 25 were occupied full-time.

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