Washington Mudslide: 90 People Still Missing

27 March 2014

Search teams have failed to recover more bodies after a deadly mudslide in Washington State, as the number of missing people dropped to 90.

As search teams combed through the rubble for a fifth day, the death toll stood at 25 people, including nine whose bodies could not be recovered and remained in the debris.

The mudslide smashed through the small community of Oso, about 55 miles (90km) north of Seattle, on Saturday morning.

Authorities whittled down a list of missing from about 176 people to 90.

But Snohomish County's emergency management director, John Pennington, said there may be as many as 35 more people whose fate remained uncertain but they were not being officially listed as missing.

Officials said they expect to find more bodies on Thursday, but acknowledged that some victims' remains may never be recovered from the mud-caked debris.

Asked whether he expected the death toll to rise significantly, Governor Jay Inslee told CNN: "Yes, I don't think anyone can reach any other conclusion."

Search teams, using dogs, bulldozers and their bare hands, have been searching the disaster zone near Oso after thousands of tons of mud and rocks flattened dozens of houses and devastated the community.

Dramatic footage was earlier released of the moment a boy was rescued from the debris.

Four-year-old Jacob Spillers is seen being attended to by rescuers who have flown in on a helicopter in the hours following the disaster.

He and his mother are believed to be the only ones in his family to survive after his house was hit.

The mudslide already ranks as one of the worst ever in the US.

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