The Norman Transcript

Nation/World

March 24, 2014

Officials: 18 missing in Washington mudslide

ARLINGTON, Wash. — Eighteen people were unaccounted for a day after a terrifying wall of mud and debris destroyed as many as 30 homes in rural northwestern Washington state and killed at least three people, authorities said Sunday.

Authorities said that because of the quicksand-like mud, it was too dangerous to send rescuers into the stricken area. Searchers instead flew over the one-square-mile mudslide in helicopters, looking for signs of life.

Some of the missing may have been able to get out on their own, authorities said.

Snohomish County Fire District 21 Chief Travis Hots said at a news briefing that authorities suspect “people are out there, but it’s far too dangerous to get responders out there on that mudflow.”

Authorities were also trying to determine how to get responders on the ground safely, Hots said, likening the mudflow to quicksand.

Officials described the mudslide as “a big wall of mud and debris” that blocked about one mile of State Route 530 near the town of Oso, about 55 miles north of Seattle. It was reported about 60 feet deep in some areas.

Authorities believe the slide was caused by groundwater saturation from recent heavy rainfall.

Several people — including an infant — were critically injured and as many as 30 houses were destroyed. The slide wiped out one neighborhood; “that neighborhood is not there anymore,” Hots said.

Hots said the number of missing is fluid and could change because some people may have been in cars and on roads when the slide hit just before 11 a.m. Saturday.

The mud was so thick and deep that searchers turned back late Saturday after attempting to reach an area where voices were heard crying for help.

Rescuers couldn’t hear any signs of life once they got closer, and the decision was made to retreat due to safety concerns, Hots said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World
  • Be ready for ‘prolonged’ Gaza war, prime minister says

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Signaling an escalation of Israel’s Gaza operation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israelis Monday to be ready for a “prolonged” war, and the military warned Palestinians in three large neighborhoods to ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Deal to improve health care costs $17B

    WASHINGTON — A bipartisan deal announced Monday would authorize about $17 billion to help veterans avoid long waits for health care, hire more doctors and nurses to treat veterans and make it easier to fire executives at the Department of ...

    July 29, 2014

  • FedEx charges raising online pharmacy issues

    SAN FRANCISCO — FedEx Corp., the latest company accused in a federal probe involving illegal online pharmacies, says it will fight the charges that it knowingly shipped drugs to people who lack valid prescriptions....

    July 27, 2014

  • EU, U.S. seek to curb Putin’s Ukraine course

    BRUSSELS — Months after Russia annexed Crimea and stepped up support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, Europe and the United States are still searching for a way to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to change course....

    July 27, 2014

  • Fighting intense near crash

    DONETSK, Ukraine — Ukrainian armed forces mounted a major onslaught against pro-Russian separatist fighters Sunday in an attempt to gain control over the area where a Malaysia Airlines plane was downed earlier this month....

    July 27, 2014

  • Gaza war rages despite truce pledges

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israel and Hamas launched new attacks Sunday in the raging Gaza war, despite going back and forth over proposals for a temporary halt to nearly three weeks of fighting ahead of a major Muslim holiday....

    July 27, 2014

  • Hamas fires rockets on Israel, ending 12-hour lull

    BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip — Hamas said it fired five rockets at Israel late Saturday after rejecting Israel’s offer to extend a 12-hour humanitarian cease-fire by four hours, casting new doubt on international efforts to broker an end to 19 ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Death shows Ebola can spread through air travel

    ABUJA, Nigeria — Nigerian health authorities raced to stop the spread of Ebola on Saturday after a man sick with one of the world’s deadliest diseases brought it by plane to Lagos, Africa’s largest city with 21 million people. The fact ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Police ID kids killed in Philly carjacking crash

    PHILADELPHIA — Two carjackers who fled after ramming a stolen SUV into a family selling fruit for their church, killing three young siblings, were still on the run Saturday as the reward for their capture topped $100,000. The children’s ...

    July 27, 2014

  • U.S.: Russia firing across border

    KIEV, Ukraine — Russia is launching artillery attacks from its soil on Ukrainian troops and preparing to move heavier weaponry across the border, the U.S. and Ukraine charged Friday in what appeared to be an ominous escalation of the ...

    July 26, 2014