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Death toll climbs to 27 at Washington mudslide

Washington Landslide Death Toll Rises, Names of Missing Released

UPDATE:

ARLINGTON, Wash. (AP) -- The official death toll from Washington state's mudslide has increased to 27, with the Snohomish County medical examiner's office saying 19 victims have been positively identified. That's up from 24 dead with 18 identified on Monday.

Workers are trying to improve the flow of the Stillaguamish River through the landslide at Oso to reduce flooding as they continue the grim task of recovering bodies.

The latest name added to the list is 58-year-old Brandy L. Ward of Arlington. Like the rest she was killed by blunt force injuries in the March 22 slide.

PREVIOUSLY FROM AP:

DARRINGTON, Wash. (AP) - Estimated financial losses from the deadly Washington mudslide that has killed at least 24 people have reached $10 million, Gov. Jay Inslee said Monday in a letter asking the federal government for a major disaster declaration.

In seeking additional federal help following one of the deadliest landslides in U.S. history, Inslee said about 30 families need assistance with housing, along with personal and household goods. The estimated losses include nearly $7 million in structures and more than $3 million in their contents, Inslee's letter said.

The Snohomish County medical examiner's office said Monday afternoon that it has received a total of 24 victims, and 18 of those have been publicly identified. Previously, the official death toll was 21, with 15 victims identified.

The remains of three additional victims were found Monday, but they have not yet been included in the medical examiner's official numbers, Snohomish County Executive Director Gary Haakenson told reporters at a Monday evening briefing.

The county sheriff's office released a list of 22 people believed missing following the March 22 slide that destroyed a rural mountainside community northeast of Seattle. That's down from the 30 people officials previously considered missing.

"There's been an exhaustive effort by the detectives to narrow the list down to one that they feel comfortable releasing," Haakenson said.

"These are 22 people whose loved ones are grieving," he said. "We want to do all we can to find them and put some closure in place for their families."

He said there could be some overlap between the list of missing and the handful of victims who have not been positively identified by the medical examiner.

Steve Harris, a division supervisor for the search effort, said Monday that search teams have been learning more about the force of the slide, helping them better locate victims in a debris field that is 70 feet deep in places.

"There's a tremendous amount of force and energy behind this," Harris said of the slide.

Harris said search dogs are the primary tool for finding victims, and searchers are finding human remains four to six times per day. Sometimes crews only find partial remains, which makes the identification process harder.

Inslee's request Monday also seeks federal help with funeral expenses, and mental health care programs for survivors, volunteers, community members and first responders.

He also is asking for access to disaster housing, disaster grants, disaster-related unemployment insurance and crisis counseling programs for those in Snohomish County and for the Stillaguamish, Sauk-Suiattle and Tulalip Indian tribes.

Meanwhile, a dozen members of the Seattle Seahawks football team and Seattle Sounders FC soccer team visited Monday with more than 300 children, parents and area residents at the Darrington Community Center.

Players said they signed autographs, tossed footballs and kicked soccer balls in an effort to bring some smiles to an area hit by tragedy.

"To be able to offer a little bit of a release or a distraction from what's going on, I mean that's all you can do," Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith said.

Sounders forward Kenny Cooper said he played pickup soccer with the kids.

One child, 10-year-old Jacob Spelman, wore an autographed bright green hat commemorating the Seahawks' Super Bowl victory as he spoke to reporters after the visit.

"I just feel like they care and that they would like it if we felt better and they came to help us," he said.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
folklifer April 01 2014 at 6:32 PM

I find it appalling that people post racist, politically laden, and ignorant (look it up, it is not an insult-If I wanted to be insulting I would have used ignoble) remarks on the internet without having a clue about the topic. Most can't spell worth a darn, and they don't stay on the subject (if they even try to start out with something that is pertinent, and positive.) This is really hurtful to the body of this nation, causing further division in an already divided land. I know that people have diverse opinions and I will defend their right to voice them, but must such crude and hateful language be the vehicle for their messages?

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TheMenagie April 01 2014 at 11:59 PM

This is very sad! I hope and wish that all will be better and hope God will wrap his arms around all who is helping and for the families that have lost a loved ones. Im so sad about this. Please take care, A person who knows what loss is! CC from Lakewood

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Jacquie April 01 2014 at 1:38 PM

My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families............Thank you to all the people searching for these poor souls........

Flag Reply +14 rate up
fjdoran April 01 2014 at 1:20 PM

I wish CNN and other media would pay more attention to this tragedy in Washington State.
They spend hours continually going over and over the same news concerning the Malaysian Flight 370. I realize this is a great tragedy but nothing can be done yet, whereas the people in a small town in Washington State get a few seconds in the news and they desperately need assistance now. I'd like to see them get a lot more attention from the media.

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1 reply
Marilyn fjdoran April 01 2014 at 3:57 PM

CNN has a reporter on the site who has been there since the slide occurred. He gives a report every hour. They also have a newsfeed update throughout their programming. Are you watching CNN or just throwing this out there for fun?

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tdiplaci April 01 2014 at 11:51 AM

I think we also need to have extremely high praise and admiration for the rescue people that are truly risking their lives to find the victims. That whole slab of mud and debris could shift and crush the rescuers at any time. Prayers for them.

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1 reply
Carol tdiplaci April 01 2014 at 1:34 PM

Could not have said it better.

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tdiplaci April 01 2014 at 11:49 AM

We need to send less dollars to other countries and take care of our people here. In fact we should send NO actual dollars to any other country. They need the dollars to buy things-so we can send then goods made here in the USA which will create jobs and prevent corrupt leaders of the countries that we sent aid to from stealing the money and getting fat off of the US taxpayers.

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tornekrayville April 01 2014 at 11:41 AM

I love it. We're giving the Ukraine $1 BILLION and LAUGHINGLY calling it a "loan" . And helping our own here is even in question. I am SICK and tired of the G-Damned politicians playing spin-the-bottle with my tax money. AMERICA FIRST !!!

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1 reply
trfyol tornekrayville April 01 2014 at 1:51 PM

Look up THE FREEDOM AMENDMENT.....

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gander111 April 01 2014 at 12:58 PM

I would like to know how I can help...what they need and where to send it. This is such a terrible thing to happen!

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2 replies
Carol gander111 April 01 2014 at 1:33 PM

Contact the Red Cross. Also, you might contact a TV station out of Seattle. They will also have information on that. Lived in the Bremerton/Seattle are for 4 years. Still have family in the Bremerton area. This is heart breaking.

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theforars6 gander111 April 01 2014 at 2:10 PM

The Oso Fire Department is taking donations that will go directly to the victims without overhead taken out. The Red Cross takes out a large portion to pay their CEO's big salaries.

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Artsfww April 01 2014 at 9:49 AM

We can't afford ti aid them. Our "elected" officials are too busy giving our tax dollars away to other corrupt officials and countries.

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Frank April 01 2014 at 12:24 PM

Where's our govt help for these people-oh-aid to foreighn countries that all hate us is more important than helping our own!!

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1 reply
neb1997 Frank April 01 2014 at 12:39 PM

They are getting federal aid.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
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