Mudslide Death Toll Rises to 18; Number of Missing Drops to 30

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ARLINGTON, Wash. — As they began a second week searching for victims of a deadly mudslide, officials on Saturday night dramatically lowered their count of the missing from 90 to 30.


A search dog sits by the feet of Washington National Guard members after working the debris field created by the mudslide near Oso, Wash. (Spc. Matthew Sissel /Washington National Guard / March 27, 2014)

Eighteen people have been confirmed dead by the Snohomish County Medical Examiner, up from 17, a county emergency program manager, Jason Biermann, told reporters. Additional remains were found in the debris field Saturday, but had not been recovered or identified, he said.

[Updated, 7:00 p.m. March 29: The county said in a later statement that the remains were those of an additional victim and had been transported to the medical examiner’s office.]

Identifying victims has been made especially challenging because of the state of the remains found, the county acknowledged Saturday. “The slide hit with such force that often rescuers are not recovering whole victims,” Biermann said.

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