Oprah Captures Crushing Mudslide Damage ... Around Montecito Home

Oprah Captures Crushing Mudslide Damage ... Around Montecito Home

A member of the Long Beach Search and Rescue team looks for survivors in a auto in Montecito.

As of Thursday afternoon, up to 43 people were unaccounted for following Tuesday's massive mudflow, though officials said that number is highly fluid. Earlier in the day, officials put the number of missing at just eight. They increased that number after authorities combed through social media posts and message boards at evacuation shelters. None of the dead have been publicly identified.

Oprah Winfrey, who lives in the stricken area, told Ellen DeGeneres on her show Thursday that while walking the neighborhood she saw some of her neighbors homes were "gutted", while others were "gone, just gone".

Among dramatic historic examples in the mountains of Southern California, a 1934 storm unleashed runoff so intense that 30 people were killed, more than 480 homes were destroyed and a almost 60-ton (54-metric ton) boulder was pushed out of a canyon.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office made a plea for information on any of the missing residents, while acknowledging that finding anyone alive would be a "miracle".

Numerous deaths and injuries occurred at locations that were not under mandatory evacuation for flooding, but weeks earlier, said areas were evacuated during a series of fires.

First responders have searched about 75 percent of the debris field left by a torrent of boulders, detritus and muck, according to Brown.

"I am blessed and I am going to do whatever I can for the rest of the community", she said, "and we all just love the firefighters".

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As rescuers searched Wednesday for more than a dozen people missing after mudslides swept away homes in Montecito, a San Diego-based task force and a strike team have been deployed to the area to assist with the efforts.

Secondary searches of damaged structures were under way. As People reports, 3-year-old Kailly Benitez was the youngest of the children taken by the tragedy. "She had been trapped for hours in a pile of wood that was once her house".

It could include everything from urgent, active missing-persons cases being worked by detectives to calls received from acquaintances saying they hadn't been able to reach someone they believe was in Montecito on Tuesday morning.

He says some of those rescued were buried in mud and debris.

More than 100 homes have been destroyed by the fast-moving floods of mud and debris, and in the affected area coastal Highway 101 looks like a river of mud.

"Mud came in an instant, like a dam breaking", Montecito resident Ben Hyatt told CNN. "Some of the locals think there's probably bodies in there". In addition to the dead and injured, 65 houses have been destroyed while another 462 sustained damage. An additional 1,500 homes remain threatened.

The slide also caused a "significant" gas leak, and fix efforts left homes on the street with no gas, electricity or water.

Laura Camp, a spokesperson for the Montecito water district, said the boiled water notice is still in effect for the entire district.

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