Dozens missing after California mudslide

Lester Mason
January 13, 2018

Run-off from heavy rain caused devastation in Santa Barbara County, with officials saying mud was waist-deep in some areas. According to the outlet, dozens more are still to be accounted for, and a search and rescue effort is underway to locate those who may still be alive and in need of rescue.

Hundreds of people are searching for survivors of the flash flooding and mudslides in Montecito, near Santa Barbara, which destroyed scores of homes and damaged more than 400.

"We're finding people continuously", said Yaneris Muniz, spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Joint Information Centre.

The December wildfires burned away hectares of brush and vegetation that normally would have soaked up heavy rainfall in the hills north of Los Angeles.

At least 50 people stranded on rooftops had already been rescued Tuesday, including a Montecito family of five with a newborn and two young children, who were plucked from a rooftop by a Coast Guard helicopter, KCAL TV reported.

Southern California Public Radio reported that "only an estimated 10 to 15 percent of people in a mandatory evacuation area of Santa Barbara County heeded the warning", though the disaster primarily struck an area that was not under mandatory evacuation. Six homes near Montecito were "wiped away from their foundations" by mudflow and debris, according to a Santa Barbara County fire spokesman.

Several major roads were buried beneath tons of mud, including the 101 Freeway. Firefighters slogged through waist-high mud to pull a muck-covered 14-year-old girl out of the ruins of a home in Montecito, where she had been trapped for hours.

The death toll has surpassed the number of fatalities from a California mudslide in January 2005, when 10 people were killed in the town of La Conchita.

Some local residents had to flee their homes due to the fires last month, and again this week because of the rain. We saw the boulders.

"This is how deep the mud is", she said as she turned the camera on the backyard debris as rotor blades of helicopters can be heard in the background.

"I feel lucky", he added.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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