Posted by News Express | 25 March 2014 | 3,534 times
At least 14 people are dead and 176 are feared missing following a devastating mudslide in Washington state, USA.
Family members and neighbours have been desperately searching through wreckage and rubble with their bare hands as they attempt to find survivors.
So far 14 people have lost their lives after the mudslide smashed through a small town 55 miles north of Seattle, destroying around 30 homes.
President Barack Obama has declared a state of emergency as the death toll is expected to rise.
Snohomish County emergency management director John Pennington revealed construction workers and motorists were among those currently missing.
However he added that the list of missing people may be slightly exaggerated as some names could have been duplicated.
Mr Pennington said: “The 176, I believe very strongly is not a number we’re going to see in fatalities.
“I believe it’s going to drop dramatically.”
A mile-long stretch of road has been buried by the landslide with the Snohomish County Fire District chief describing the situation as “very grim”.
“We have not found anyone alive on this pile since Saturday,” added Travis Hots.
Robin Youngblood, a witness, told the Seattle Times: “All of a sudden there was a wall of mud. Then it hit and we were rolling.
“The house was in sticks. We were buried under things, and we dug ourselves out.”
Washington’s Governor Jay Inslee has described the area as “a square mile of total devastation”.
A bout of heavy rain left the ground in the area unstable which is believed to have caused the deadly mudslide.
•Text courtesy Daily Star (London). Photo shows part of the devastation caused by the Washington mudslide.
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