In the struggle to find loved ones, family members and neighbors used
chain saws and their bare hands to dig through wreckage that was
tangled by the mud into broken piles.
Authorities said they were looking for more than 100 people who had
not been heard from since the disaster about 55 miles northeast of
Seattle. They predicted that the number of missing would decline as more
people are found safe. But the startling initial length of the list
added to the anxieties two days after a mile-wide layer of soft earth
crashed onto a cluster of homes at the bottom of a river valley.
“The situation is very grim,” Snohomish County Fire District 21 Chief
Travis Hots said, stressing that authorities are still in rescue mode
and are holding out hope. But he noted: “We have not found anyone alive
on this pile since Saturday.”
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