Death Toll from California Mudslide Rises to 17

Henrietta Strickland
January 14, 2018

Rescue efforts will continue Friday in the ravaged community.

"This is a constantly changing list", Brown said during a news conference.

There's been another significant adjustment in the number of people reported missing in the deadly mudslides along the California coast.

Santa Barbara fire Capt. Gary Pitney said most if not all rescues conducted Wednesday and Thursday were of people who were safe but just wanted to get out of the area. But it also encompasses those who have been named in calls to the operations center and family assistance center.

"It's 24-7, obviously most of the work is being done during the day but we're bringing lights in to get some overnight work done", Jones said, "we've got all of our contractors mobilized to help out, we've got the National Guard bringing in some extra equipment, so again its all resources focused in that area".

The dead included Josie Gower, who died when she was swept away in the mudslides, her daughter-in-law Sarah Gower confirmed in a Facebook post.

The dead were identified - all from Montecito, ranging in age from 3 to 89 years old.

A search and rescue worker scours through properties after a mudslide in Montecito, California, U.S. January 11, 2018.

NeoTract, a maker of devices used in the medical field of urology, has launched a fundraising page asking for financial support for the family of Kim Cantin. A 14-year-old girl was rescued on Wednesday.

Fears that several feet of mud covering a stretch of the 101 Freeway running through Montecito might contain human remains slowed cleaning efforts Thursday, authorities told KPCC reporters. The posting said Lauren's father, Dave, and 16-year-old brother, Jack, remained missing.

California mudslides
Death Toll from California Mudslide Rises to 17

Overall, 28 people were injured.

Riskin's firm described her as the picture of strength, grace and elegance, adding, "her loss is incredibly devastating to her friends, family and our community". Earlier, officials said just eight people were unaccounted for.

"The correct number of missing is down to eight", Mike Eliason, a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, told Xinhua in a phone interview. "There hasn't been a sound definition of what constitutes a missing person".

Eight people are still missing in deadly mudslides that have claimed 17 lives so far in Santa Barbara County in the western USA state of California, local authorities said Thursday.

The disaster was already unfolding when Santa Barbara County officials sent out their first cellphone alert at 3:50 a.m. County emergency manager Jeff Gater said officials decided not to send one sooner out of concern it might not be taken seriously.

For days, the county had issued repeated warnings via social media, news media and emails about the potential for mudslides.

Only an estimated 10 to 15 percent of residents fled when ordered, and much of the damage occurred where evacuations were voluntary.

Searchers had checked most of the debris zone for victims and some were doubling back to leave no stone unturned Thursday when a crew ended up in the backyard of Bill Asher, who lost his palatial home and a similar one he was restoring next door.

The death toll from Tuesday's pre-dawn flash flood rose to 17 as more bodies were found.

"They're not going to find survivors anymore".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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