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Wild swings occur in numbers of California mudslide missing

14 January 2018, 02:09 | Taylor George

Mike Eliason Santa Barbara County Fire Department

Mike Eliason  Santa Barbara County Fire Department

According to the Santa Barbara County Coroner's Office, these are the names of those killed this week when heavy rain unleashed flash floods, mudslides and debris flow in the southern part of the state. But he confessed: "The likelihood is increasing that we'll be finding bodies, not survivors. You have to start accepting the reality of that".

Montecito and Carpinteria are especially vulnerable to mudslides because the steep terrain in some places goes from thousands of feet above sea level to sea level in just a few miles, said Tom Fayram, a deputy public works director with Santa Barbara County. The John Keating listed above is a separate individual and is still on our active missing person's list. Her 16-year-old brother, Jack, remained missing.

On the fourth day of search for victims of the southern California mudslides, the death toll has increased to 19 people, the Santa Barbara sheriff's office tells NPR.

The mudslide swept through the coastal community of Montecito on Tuesday morning, catching numerous victims entirely off-guard.

"We got it out, got the mud out of its mouth".

Brown said some of those on the missing list may simply have left the area before or after the mudslides or may just be out of touch with the family and friends looking for them.

The team was requested by authorities in Santa Barbara County earlier Wednesday, the spokeswoman said.

Among the searchers were more than a dozen firefighters who climbed through rubble in the backyard of a mansion that had been torn apart. Earlier in the week, the body of Corey's 12-year-old sister, Sawyer, was also found.

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Heavy rain on Tuesday, which followed 10 months of drought, sent sticky mud and debris flowing down the hills into Montecito.

But county emergency manager Jeff Gater said officials decided not to use the cellphone push alert system until 3:50 a.m. Tuesday out of concern it might not be taken seriously.

A vehicle sits in mud and debris after a mudslide on in Montecito, California.

Trashed areas were awash in a sea of mud, with only the tallest trees standing and some homes buried up to their roofs.

Officials warned those going home that it can be a traumatic experience to come back to damaged or destroyed homes and neighborhoods.

Theirs are among the many stories of those who perished and those who managed with inexplicable good fortune to escape the slides in the wealthy enclave of Montecito that is home to a variety of people ranging from captains of industry to those who manicured their lawns.

"Thomas Tighe said he stepped outside his Montecito home in the middle of the night and heard 'a deep rumbling, an ominous sound I knew was. boulders moving as the mud was rising'". The water was flowing out of water mains and coming from fire hydrants.



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