Fire Chief: Death toll from slide expected to rise

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Fire Chief: Death toll from slide expected to rise
Marine One helicopter, carrying President Barack Obama, takes an aerial tour of Oso, Wash., Tuesday, April 22, 2014, above the site of the deadly mudslide that struck the community in March. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Marine One, carrying President Barack Obama, takes an aerial tour of Oso, Wash., Tuesday, April 22, 2014, the site of the deadly mudslide that struck the community in March. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, Pool)
President Barack Obama walks from the Marine One helicopter with Col. Preston Williamson, vice commander, 89th Airlift Wing, Andrews Air Force Base, Md.,to board of Air Force One, Tuesday, April 22, 2014, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md, en route to Oso, Wash., the site of the deadly mudslide that struck the community. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Barack Obama boards Air Force One, Tuesday, April 22, 2014, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md, en route to Oso, Wash., the site of the deadly mudslide that struck the community. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Brande Taylor, left, and her partner Matt Ingison wave flags and take photos as President Barack Obama's motorcade drives past Tuesday, April 22, 2014, in Oso, Wash. Obama was visiting the area about an hour northeast of Seattle to survey damage from a recent mudslide nearby that killed more than three dozen people. The deadly March 22 mudslide killed at least 41 people and buried dozens of homes. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
A flag sticks out of a hole in a demolished home near where a deadly mudslide from the hill behind that happened several days earlier ended, Tuesday, March 25, 2014, in Arlington, Wash. At least 14 people were killed in the 1-square-mile slide that hit in a rural area about 55 miles northeast of Seattle on Saturday. Several people also were critically injured, and homes were destroyed. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
The remains of a house and of a boat lie with other debris following a deadly mudslide, Tuesday, March 25, 2014, in Oso, Wash. At least 14 people were killed in the 1-square-mile slide that hit in a rural area about 55 miles northeast of Seattle on Saturday. Several people also were critically injured, and homes were destroyed. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Teresa Welter cries as she holds a candle Tuesday, March 25, 2014, at a candlelight vigil in Arlington, Wash., for the victims of a massive mudslide that struck the nearby community of Oso, Wash., on Saturday, killing at least 16 people and leaving dozens missing. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
ARLINGTON, WA - MARCH 25: Snohomish County Fire District 21 Chief Travis Hots speaks to the media during a news conference on March 25, 2014 in Arlington, Washington. A massive mudslide on March 22 in nearby Oso, Washington killed at least sixteen and left many missing. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)
OSO, WA - MARCH 25: Crews work on Washington State Route 530 to clear debris from a mudslide on March 25, 2014 in Oso, Washington. A massive mudslide on March 22 has killed at least fourteen and left scores missing. (Photo by Ted S. Warren-Pool/Getty Images)
OSO, WA - MARCH 25: Crews work on Washington State Route 530 to clear debris from a mudslide on March 25, 2014 in Oso, Washington. A massive mudslide on March 22 has killed at least fourteen and left scores missing. (Photo by Ted S. Warren-Pool/Getty Images)
Volunteers with chainsaws march down a rugged path toward the scene of a deadly mudslide that hit Saturday, Tuesday, March 25, 2014, in Arlington, Wash. At least 14 people were killed in the 1-square-mile slide that hit in a rural area about 55 miles northeast of Seattle. Several people also were critically injured, and homes were destroyed. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
OSO, WA - MARCH 25: Elaine Young holds a Bible and photographs found in the debris of a mudslide near her home on March 25, 2014 in Oso, Washington. A massive mudslide on March 22 has killed at least fourteen and left many missing. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)
OSA, WASHINGTON, USA - JULY 25, 2010: This is DigitalGlobe satellite imagery of the Osa, Washington MUDSLIDE area before the March 2014 tragedy. Imagery collected on July 25, 2010. (Photo DigitalGlobe via Getty Images)
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, WASHINGTON - MARCH 23: In this handout from Washington State Dept of Transportation, an aerial view of a breach where water from the Stillaguamish River begins to move through the dam created March 23, 2014 between Darrington and Arlington, Washington. Eight people have been confirmed dead and at least 18 others are still missing after a massive mudslide leveled homes and blocked a river and a road. (Photo by Washington State Dept of Transportation via Getty Images)
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, WASHINGTON - MARCH 23: In this handout from Washington State Dept of Transportation, an aerial view of the hill that originated the mudslide March 23, 2014 between Darrington and Arlington, Washington. Eight people have been confirmed dead and at least 18 others are still missing after a massive mudslide leveled homes and blocked a river and a road. (Photo by Washington State Dept of Transportation via Getty Images)
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, WASHINGTON - MARCH 23: In this handout from Washington State Dept of Transportation, an aerial view of a breach where water from the Stillaguamish River begins to move through the dam created March 23, 2014 between Darrington and Arlington, Washington. Eight people have been confirmed dead and at least 18 others are still missing after a massive mudslide leveled homes and blocked a river and a road. (Photo by Washington State Dept of Transportation via Getty Images)
DARRINGTON, WA - MARCH 23: Larry Taylor prepares to spend the night at a temporary Red Cross shelter at the Darrington Community Center in Darrington, Washington on Sunday, March 23, 2014. A massive mudslide in Oso, Washington killed at least eight and left many missing, while also blocking the waters of the Stillaguamish River and flooding Taylor's home. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)
DARRINGTON, WA - MARCH 23: Kristopher Langton shares a moment with his son, Kristian Langton (5 months), at a temporary Red Cross shelter at the Darrington Community Center in Darrington, Washington on Sunday, March 23, 2014. A massive mudslide in Oso, Washington killed at least eight and left many missing, and Kristopher Langton was one of the first to arrive and offer aid. Against the wishes of authorities, Langton says he traveled more than a mile across the entire mudslide, wading through debris and mud that resembled quicksand to help rescue four adults and an infant. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, WA - MARCH 23: (NO SALES) A house sits destroyed in the mud on Highway 530 next to mile marker 37 on March 23, 2014 near Arlington, Washington. Four people have been confirmed dead and at least 18 others are still missing after a massive mudslide in Oso, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/The Seattle Times-Pool/Getty Images)
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, WASHINGTON - MARCH 22: In this handout from Washington State Dept of Transportation, an aerial view of the hill that originated the mudslide, the Stillaguamish River and SR 530 March 22, 2014 between Darrington and Arlington, Washington. Eight people have been confirmed dead and at least 18 others are still missing after a massive mudslide leveled homes and blocked a river and a road. (Photo by Washington State Dept of Transportation via Getty Images)
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, WASHINGTON - MARCH 22: In this handout from the Washington State Patrol, people stand near a debris from a house that was hit by a mudslide on Highway 530 March 22, 2014 in Snohomish County, Washington. According to reports, 18 people are still missing after a mudslide killed three and injured another eight. The mudslide is said to measure a square mile and 15 feet deep in places. (Photo by Washington State Patrol via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, WA - MARCH 23: (NO SALES) A house sits destroyed in the mud on Highway 530 next to mile marker 37 on March 23, 2014 near Arlington, Washington. Four people have been confirmed dead and at least 18 others are still missing after a massive mudslide in Oso, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/The Seattle Times-Pool/Getty Images)
The orange X on a house, destroyed in the mud, indicates it has been searched for people on Highway 530, Sunday, March 23, 2014 the day after a giant landslide occurred near Oso, Wash. Rescue crews searched into the night for survivors from a massive mudslide that killed at least three people, after hearing voices from the debris field pleading for help. (AP Photo/The Seattle Times, Lindsey Wasson, Pool)
Map locates mudslide in Snohomish County, Wash.
Snohomish County Sheriff officers monitor the scene a short ways up the road from the mudslide at mile 37 on Highway 530 on Sunday, March 23, 2014, the day after a giant landslide occurred near mile marker 37 near Oso, Washington. At least six homes have been washed away, with three people reported dead so far and at least eighteen missing. The nearby Stillaguamish River has been dammed up by 15-20 feet of debris as a result, creating more flooding concerns, as reported by KING 5 via the state hydrologist. (AP Photo/The Seattle Times, Lindsey Wasson, Pool)
A house is seen destroyed in the mud on Highway 530 next to mile marker 37 on Sunday, March 23, 2014, the day after a giant landslide occurred near mile marker 37 near Oso, Washington. At least six homes have been washed away, with three people reported dead so far and at least eighteen missing. The nearby Stillaguamish River has been dammed up by 15-20 feet of debris as a result, creating more flooding concerns, as reported by KING 5 via the state hydrologist. (AP Photo/The Seattle Times, Lindsey Wasson, Pool)
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ARLINGTON, Wash. (AP) -- The death toll of 14 from a massive Washington state mudslide is expected to increase as crews continue to search through the soupy, debris-laden field and rainy conditions complicate matters for searchers on the ground and in the air.

"We're expecting that number to go up throughout the day," Snohomish County Fire District 21 Chief Travis Hots said Tuesday.

Dozens of people remain unaccounted for. Authorities are working off a list of 176 potentially missing people, though many of those names likely are duplicates and they think that number will decrease.

Snohomish County Emergency Management Director John Pennington said officials expect to have an updated list later Tuesday.

The landslide Saturday destroyed a small community 55 miles northeast of Seattle, flattening about two dozen homes and critically injuring several people.

From the beginning, rescue crews on the ground have faced dangerous and unpredictable conditions as they navigated quicksand-like mud that was 15 feet deep in some places. Some who went in got caught up to their armpits in the thick, sticky sludge.

A scientist who documented the landslide conditions on the hillside that buckled had warned in a 1999 report filed with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of the "potential for a large catastrophic failure," The Seattle Times reported late Monday.

That report was written by geomorphologist Daniel J. Miller and his wife, Lynne Rodgers Miller. "We've known it would happen at some point," Daniel Miller told the newspaper (HTTP://IS.GD/YODBQX ).

Snohomish County Executive John Lovick and Public Works Director Steve Thomsen said Monday night they were not aware of the 1999 report. "A slide of this magnitude is very difficult to predict," Thomsen told The Times. "There was no indication, no indication at all."

Pennington said officials would examine the report, but he said local authorities were vigilant about warning of potential landslide dangers. A less severe slide struck the area in 2006.

"We've done everything we could to protect them. We've mitigated the landslide from 2006," Pennington said at a morning news conference. "We're going to get to the bottom of this."

He said the local homeowners "were very aware of the slide potential."

The threat of potential flash floods or another landslide also loomed over rescuers. On Monday, some crews had to pull back because of concern that a hillside could shift.

Hots said dozens of searchers will continue throughout the day. The dry, sunny weather has turned to rain, which was expected to continue throughout the day.

"It's going to further complicate things, slow things down a bit," Hots said.
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