World

California mudslides: 1250 rescuers searching 'for a miracle'

California mudslides: 1250 rescuers searching 'for a miracle'

One of those people, 62-year-old Delbert Weltzin, was found alive, according to authorities. Many streets near the downtown area remain impassible for vehicles with pools of liquid mud up to two feet deep.

The California Department of Transportation abandoned hopes of reopening the highway on Monday and said it was not known when the closure would be lifted. 30 square miles were affected, leaving hundreds of buildings damaged and dozens injured along with the 17 reported deaths.

Evacuee Hannah Troy has spent three days at the Red Cross shelter in nearby Santa Barbara.

In its first hours of the effort, which began with the words, "We wanted to inform you of a disgusting event that has occurred within the NeoTract family", almost $30,000 was pledged.

He runs inside, closes the door and instructs his mom to wake his dad up and get ready to go. Best to give workers a chance to clear the roads up, she said.

"I know it sounds like it's a constantly moving number", Brown said.

For others, the grim reality was just beginning as workmen dug through the debris.

"We were expecting rain this week and usually we're grateful for rain, especially in California, but not after the largest fire in the history of California", she continued.




Santa Barbara fire Capt. Gary Pitney said the likelihood is increasing that rescue crews will be finding bodies instead of survivors at this point. "You have to start accepting the reality of that".

Jim and Alice Mitchell had been married for more than 50 years and had just celebrated Jim's 89th birthday when they were swept away along with their dog Gigi.

She says Marilyn Ramos doted on her only child, Kailly. Morgan's younger sister Sawyer was previously also found dead. None of the adult dead shared their last names. Kelly Weimer, whose parents were killed when their Montecito home was swept away by flash floods, said they "were in a voluntary evacuation area so they figured they were OK".

The search for victims of the disaster has carried on in Montecito, where crews are labouring to fix power, water and gas lines as well as clean up massive debris.

The number of missing after a California mudslide has fluctuated wildly, due to shifting definitions, the inherent uncertainty that follows a natural disaster, and just plain human error.

The cause of death for most of the victims will be listed as multiple traumatic injuries resulting from flash floods with mudslides, the Santa Barbara Sheriff's office said.

Streets were like rapids, and in minutes cars began moving sideways, disappearing underneath the mud and crashing into homes.

The grim discovery came around noon on a day in which searchers were going through damaged and destroyed homes, sometimes for a second time.


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