Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Rescue crews still working on So Cal mudslides

Rescue crews still working on So Cal mudslides

The death toll from a mudslide in California rose to at least 17 people on Wednesday as rescue crews continued to search for another 17 missing people.

A baby girl has been found and rescued from the debris left by the devastating California mudslides.

It has previously put the figure at 17, with another 17 confirmed to have been killed and 28 hurt in the disaster which was triggered by heavy rain on Tuesday.

Eight people are still missing in deadly mudslides that have claimed 17 lives so far in Santa Barbara County in the western US state of California, local authorities said Thursday.

Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, the primary counties affected by the downpour, were the same counties that were overwhelmed by the Thomas Fire this winter. Over the past month California's scenic coastline was ravaged by a series of intense wildfires that burned off vegetation.

Both local authorities and the U.S. Coast Guard were involved in response operations throughout the day Wednesday, including helicopter rescues and attempting to retrieve residents trapped inside their homes.

"I thought I was dead there for a minute", the teenager Lauren Cantin, covered in mud, said after workers spent six hours rescuing her, NBC News reported. About 300 people were stranded in a canyon.

"But we are safe, and so thankful for that and for the first responders who are working tirelessly to save people", he said.

"Right now our assets are focused on determining if anyone is still alive in any of those structures that have been damaged", Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said. "The large amounts of mud and debris are making access and progress challenging", Friday's Santa Barbara County Fire incident update said.

The number of people missing - now at five - continues to fluctuate, but authorities say that number could change again as the sheriff's department continues to receive reports of missing persons. The fire started more than a month ago. Many residents, if they were lucky, were able to make it to their roofs after hearing "deep rumbling" from higher ground that sent boulders tumbling down with the rising mud, which effortlessly swallowed vehicles and tore several houses from their foundations.

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