90 People Still Missing in Washington Mudslide

Washington Mudslide

Aerial photo of the mudslide and backup of Stillaguamish River. IMG: Jay Inslee via Flickr.

The devastating mudslide that took place on March 22nd, in Oso, Washington is still being dealt with. While the number of missing people has fallen from 176 to 90, there are still a lot of people out there that need to be found.

Late on Wednesday, rescue crews found another body, raising the death toll by one to 25. While additional bodies have been located, John Pennington, Snohomish County’s emergency-management director, said he would not share figures. Either these bodies have not been extracted, or they have not yet been examined by the medical examiner, he said.

“We know and most of us, I think, are accepting that many of our people are not going to make it,” Megan Fanning, 41, said at the prayer vigil in Darrington, not far from Oso.

In good news, the list of missing people decreased significantly from 176 to 90 people. This is normal, officials confirmed the decrease after combing through the list for duplicate names, and reaching out to those unaccounted for. An additional 35 people are “status unknown,” which means officials have not yet confirmed whether they are missing, or simply out of the area.

“This is what we expected,” said Pennington of the revised list. “I think this is a logical number we can work around.”

Washington Mudslide, Oso mudslide

Rescue workers continue to work through mud on the west side of the Oso Mudslide. IMG: The National Guard via Flickr

Emergency crews have used dogs, small cameras and sophisticated listening devices in the hunt for buried bodies as other workers removed debris by hand.

Stores in nearby Arlington put up hand-painted signs calling for solidarity and donations, a bowling league has offered their tournament prize money to relief efforts, and the Boy Scouts have collected food.

“This is a very strong community. … We all stick together,” said 25-year-old Jamie Olsen as her husband and about 40 people in Darrington sorted water, food, diapers and other supplies for families forced out of their homes.

President Barack Obama has signed an emergency declaration. A local disaster relief account had around $50,000 in it by Thursday.

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