Search Continues for Missing After Mudslides in California

Search Continues for Missing After Mudslides in California

Do not forget to update your bookmarks. He noted the possibility that some of the people listed as missing may not be in the area and may not have checked in with friends, or realize that they are listed as missing.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said: "Right now our assets are focused on determining if anyone is still alive in any of those structures that have been damaged". She hoped to find them in a shelter or hospital. Sawyer Corey and 25-year-old Morgan were initially pronounced missing.

Brown said authorities can not force people to go, but residents who do leave the evacuation area will not be allowed back in until the mandatory evacuation order is lifted.

At the start of a news conference, Brown named six people still missing.

"At this moment we are still looking for live victims", said Santa Barbara fire Capt. Gary Pitney. The first slides ripped through Montecito about 3:30 a.m. and continued after the county cellphone alerts went out. Members of the children's family also remain missing. "It was literally a carpet of mud and debris everywhere with huge boulders, rocks, downed trees, powerlines, wrecked cars, lots of obstacles and challenges for rescue personnel to get to homes let alone to get people out of them", he said.

It swept entire homes off their foundations and carried them away in a tumult of mud, boulders and debris - along with the unsuspecting residents.

The Benitez brothers survived.

The number of fatalities surpassed the death toll from a California mudslide on January 10, 2005, when 10 people were killed as a hillside gave way in the town of La Conchita, less than 20 miles (30 km) south of the latest disaster.

NBC 7 first introduced you to a group from the U.S. Coast Guard San Diego Sector on Tuesday after they made a daring rescue of a family of 5 trapped in their Montecito home. The host was evacuated from her home in Santa Barbara County.

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Flash flooding, debris flow and mudslides are punishing the communities hit hard by the Thomas and La Tuna fires, prompting "dozens and dozens" of rescues on the ground, a spokesperson from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department told ABC News.

Devastating floods and mud flows were triggered Tuesday after heavy rain fell on areas recently burned in the massive Thomas fire, the largest wildfire in California history.

Authorities in southern California say mudslides have killed at least 15 people.

Santa Barbara County spokeswoman Amber Anderson released the latest number early Friday.

The storm is now over, and weather is no longer interfering with rescue efforts, authorities say.

"But realistically we suspect that we are going to continue to have discovery of people who were killed in this incident".

The number of confirmed fatalities remains at 17. More than 1,200 workers were said to be at the scene.

Alice and James Mitchell, ages 78 and 89, died together in their home. As People reports, 3-year-old Kailly Benitez was the youngest of the children taken by the tragedy. "We will push for every available resource to help Californians recover from these tragedies", Brown said in a statement Thursday.

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