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techkenyot.com August 15, 2018


California police hope for "miracle" to find missing in mudslide

14 January 2018, 06:16 | Glen Norman

California police hope for "miracle" to find missing in mudslide

A member of the Long Beach Search and Rescue team looks for survivors in a car in Montecito

"It's a constantly moving number", said Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown, adding that he expected the death toll to rise.

Rescuers said they would search every piece of debris and pile of dirt to look for the missing.

Riskin, the Montecito real estate agent, is survived by her husband and two children.

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Benitez lived with her sister-in-law, Marilyn Ramos, 27, who was asleep with her daughter, Kaelly, three, when mud crashed through their Montecito rental home, carrying both to their deaths. His father, Pinit Sutthithepa, and 2-year-old sister, Lydia, are among the missing, the county sheriff's office said. He shared the home with his partner, who owned a cafe in Santa Barbara. The U.S. Forest Service announced Friday that the fire that burned 440 square miles (1,140 square kilometers) was fully contained.

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Nearly the entire community, about 10,000 people, are under a mandatory evacuation order that could last for up to two weeks, Santa Barbara County's fire chief said.

Anxious family members awaited word on loved ones Wednesday as rescue crews searched grimy debris and ruins for more than a dozen people missing after mudslides in Southern California destroyed an estimated 100 houses, swept cars to the beach and left at least 17 victims dead.

The disaster struck on Tuesday after heavy rains soaked the area near Montecito, where vegetation had been denuded by the largest wildfire in California's history.

The number of confirmed fatalities remains at 17.

Anderson could not say where the eight people who are missing are, but all are believed to be in areas rescue crews have yet to reach.

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Hundreds of people who were trapped but not injured in the slides, such as those stranded in Romero Canyon, were taken to safety on Wednesday, she said. In a rescue helicopter that was surveying the damage on Wednesday, National Guard Chief Warrant Officer Sean Quillin said the shock and speed of the mudslide had left almost every survivor shaken.

The youngest, 3-year-old Kailly Benitez, was one of four children killed.

Similar issues emerged in last year's wine country wildfires in Northern California, where at times thousands were reported missing, the overwhelming majority simply people whose communication with friends and family had been cut off by the fires.

As their names and those of 14 other victims were released Thursday, crews kept digging through the muck and rubble looking for more people.

The mudslide swept through the coastal community of Montecito on Tuesday morning, catching numerous victims entirely off-guard.

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