Washington mudslide: Number missing down to 30

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The number of people missing from the Washington State mudslide has been reduced to 30 from 90, but the death toll has reached 18 people. Authorities reported late Saturday that the number of missing were reduced after many people were found safe.

CBC reports that officials set the figure of missing at 90, but expected that number to drop dramatically as they worked to find people and cross-referenced a list that included partial reports and duplicates.

The confirmed death toll rose by one, to 18, Jason Biermann, program manager at the Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management, said at a Saturday evening briefing.

The search by heavy equipment, dogs and bare hands for victims from the slide was going “all the way to the dirt” as crews looked for anything to provide answers for family and friends a week after a small mountainside community was destroyed.

All work on the debris field halted briefly Saturday for a moment of silence to honour those lost. Gov. Jay Inslee had asked people across Washington to pause at 10:37 a.m., the time the huge slide struck on March 22, destroying a neighbourhood in the community of Oso north of Seattle. Authorities say they have found at least 25 bodies.

“People all over stopped work — all searchers — in honour of that moment, so people we are searching for know we are serious,” Snohomish County Fire District 1 battalion chief Steve Mason said.

An American flag had been run up a tree and then down to half-staff at the debris site, he said. Read More CBC.ca

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