Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Race in opposition to time to seek out California mudslide survivors

This came just weeks after several fires scorched the area.

Those killed were as young as 3 and as old as 84.

More than 1,200 workers taking part in the search and cleanup effort flooded into the town with a population of about 9,000.

Hundreds have been rescued and evacuated and that includes at least 50 people who needed to be hoisted to safety by helicopters.

After the fire evacuations, Ellen related that she only returned to her house in Montecito on December 27. A missing 12-year-old, Sawyer Corey, has also been found and pronounced dead.

Controversy continues to brew over whether or not residents living in the areas hit hardest by the recent mudslides in Montecito were properly warned by Santa Barbara County officials. Theresa was rescued and hospitalized in stable condition.

California Fire spokesman Brad Bihun says, "Right now we still are in a rescue mode so we don't know what is out there. Thousands have been blessed by the Rohters' friendship and generosity".

"Why did she go downstairs?" exclaimed the distraught father as he searched through the remains of his ruined home. "Why didn't she stay upstairs?"

Josie Gower's daughter Hayden, is among the missing.

Another victim identified Wednesday was Rebecca Riskin, a real estate agent and founder of Riskin Partners. At least two of her family cars were destroyed and she's not sure how her cottage fared.

Authorities also added one more name to the missing list, 62-year-old Delbert Weltzin. A third sister and the girls' mother are now being treated in the ICU, the family said. The power of the debris flow destroyed everything in its path and there was no time to flee.

"Where I am now, which is the east side of my property, I was walking down here and all of my neighbors' homes are gutted".

Almost 60 single-family residences were destroyed in Montecito, and 446 others sustained damage, according to an update published Wednesday night by the multi-agency team responding to the devastation.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown defended the timing of the wireless emergency alert, saying they are supposed "to be used to notify someone of an active incident that is occurring".

Trashed areas were awash in a sea of mud, with only the tallest trees standing and some homes buried up to their roofs.

Family members inspect the inside of a home covered in mud following the mudslides in Montecito, California, U.S., in this photo provided by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, January 10, 2018.

Early Thursday, the number provided by authorities went from 48, down to eight.

The record rains started coming down Monday, soaking northern cities like San Francisco and Sacramento. "She had been trapped for hours in a pile of wood that was once her house".

Rainfall totals on Tuesday afternoon ranged from 3 to 5 inches in the mountains in Ventura County and 2 to 3 inches in the mountains of Santa Barbara County.

The San Ysidro Ranch, a five-star resort near Santa Barbara where President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline honeymooned, has been severley damaged by the deadly mudslides in Southern California this week.

The only way into some of the washed-out homes is by air. "That is why we have the canines to help us assist in those efforts to either sniff out or guide us to areas potentially that could have other people that need assistance and rescue". "They weren't concerned. It's not like anybody came around and told them to leave".

Stranded drivers caught up in the rising water levels were being plucked from their vehicles to safer, dryer ground by emergency personnel relying on mostly aviation transportation.

At the height of his fame in 1928, Chaplin led a small group of investors who built the Montecito Inn, which he called "the cream of the coast", a posh getaway two blocks from the Pacific Ocean that became a local landmark.

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