DARRINGTON, Wash. (AP) — Washington state authorities say the number of mudslide fatalities will go up substantially within the next two days.
Sixteen bodies have been recovered, but officials say at least nine more had been found as of last night.
Snohomish County District 21 Fire Chief Travis Hots said Thursday that officials are not going to count additional victims until the medical examiner’s office has caught up with the recovery effort. And he stressed how difficult the job is.
“You’ve got clay balls the size of ambulances that have rolled off that hill and smashed everything that they’ve come in contact with as they’ve come down the hill. There’s so much muck and mud and debris. And this is one of the things the volunteers did, they took some of the plywood that’s been donated, and they cut that plywood down, and they made pathways out there, so you don’t have to walk through the mud,” Hots said.
The Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office so far has identified one victim, 45-year-old Christina Jefferds.
90 people are listed as missing from the Saturday morning mudslide.