Fatal landslide north of Seattle killed many people

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As officials described, it was a slide as “a big wall of mud and debris” that blocked about a mile of State Route 530 near the town of Oso, north of Seattle. As many as 30 houses were destroyed. The landslide was 15 feet deep. The cause may be the ground water saturation from recent heavy rainfall. Searchers in helicopters will be flying over the area of the one-square-mile mudslide on Sunday. More than 100 rescuers were at the scene. The American Red Cross set up at the hospital, and evacuation shelters were created at Post Middle School in Arlington and the Darrington Community Center. The quicksand at the scene, making dangerous conditions, forced the workers to stop at dusk on Sunday. Even they were in danger, some of them being dragged after becoming mired in mud to their armpits.
A state of emergency was declared but the hope of finding mudslide survivors is without support. After a search of much of the area on foot, Travis Hot, the Chief of the Fire District organized a news conference on Sunday and said: “We didn’t find anybody alive. There was no sign of life.” The flow of the nearby river was blocked with rock and debris creating a backup of water behind mud and debris. The highway was closed indefinitely in both directions.

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