Washington Mudslide Death Toll and Update: 90 People Still Missing in Oso
Approximately 90 people are reported to still be missing from a community that was wiped out by a severe mudslide five days ago. The community was located in the town of Oso that is about 55 miles northeast of Seattle.
The latest report in the missing toll falls significantly less than the 220 people that were reported to be originally missing on the day of the mudslide. Since the natural disaster, authorities have been able to verify that 140 people who were reported missing have been found, leaving about 90 people left to search for.
The death toll is said to be at 25 so far with 17 confirmed dead and an additional 8 bodies that have been located but not recovered.
As the search continues, the families of the missing and deceased Oso community members gathered together for a prayer vigil on Wednesday evening. Though hope still reigns strong among the Oso families as the days pass, reality sets in.
"We know and most of us, I think, are accepting that many of our people are not going to make it," Megan Fanning, 41, said at the prayer vigil in Darrington, not far from Oso. (Reuters)
Oso search crew members have used dogs, small cameras, listening devices, bulldozers, and even their bare hands to search for the bodies. However, the site is filled with potentially life-threatening hazards, including fallen trees, propane, septic tanks, twisted vehicles, and shards of shattered homes.
Authorities have acknowledged that every victim may not be recovered due to the level of destruction brought on by the mudslide.
In an attempt to assist in the search of the Oso members, President Barack Obama has signed an emergency declaration that orders U.S. government assistance to enhance state and local relief efforts. $50,000 has been provided as part of the relief effort.