Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Entertaiment | By Mabel Barber

Rescuers Battle to Find Survivors of California Mudslides

Rescuers Battle to Find Survivors of California Mudslides

The search for survivors of the deadly mudslides in parts of California's scenic Santa Barbara County continued Sunday even as hopes dwindled to find anyone else alive, officials said.

Drones, military vehicles and search dogs have been brought in to help with rescue and clean-up efforts. DeGeneres broadcast the FaceTime call on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" where she described the experiences of the "tight-knit" community where 17 people have died and as of late Thursday eight people were still unaccounted for. "It's martial law here, basically".

Jennifer Ramos says Marilyn Ramos shared the home with her husband, Antonio Benitez, and the family of his brother, Victor Benitez. "When those go down, you have to leave".

Rescuers frantically combed the mountains of mud, wreckage and boulders which landed on top of the affluent seaside community on Wednesday. "People are trying to locate missing people, it's basically search and rescue right now".

Search and rescue team workers walk past a demolished property in Montecito on January 12, 2018. Authorities said crews work 16 hours a day.

The sheriff's office listed the names of the missing, who range in age from two to 62, in a statement on Friday night.

Marco Farrell, recorded the deluge of brown, muddy water come crashing past his home, dragging debris from destroyed houses and cars with it. "To get people here takes time and we're finally getting that request for influx".

Kelly Weimer, whose parents were killed when their Montecito home was swept away by flash floods, said they "were in a voluntary evacuation area so they figured they were OK".

Santa Barbara County Air Support Unit Fire Copter over Montecito
Rescuers Battle to Find Survivors of California Mudslides

Between Ventura and Carpinteria, a 30-mile stretch of US 101 remained closed in both directions Thursday because of flooding and mud on the roadway.

The city of Montecito, close to Santa Barbara, was hardest hit. There was no estimate on when it would reopen due to the large amounts of mud and debris damage.

Winfrey said while walking around she saw some of her neighbors homes were "gutted", while others are "gone, just gone".

It was another frustrating turn for those living in the Southern California town that has been subject to repeated evacuation orders in recent weeks, first because of a monster wildfire last month, then because of downpours and mudslides.

The U.S. Forest Service made the announcement Friday after aerial surveys of the 440-square-mile (1,140-square-kilometer) scar left by the so-called Thomas fire.

Mark Montgomery, 54, a doctor at Associated Hand Surgeons, was at home with his wife and two children when they were caught in the mudslide, a family friend told KSBY.

".86 of an inch in 15 minutes is an unprecedented rainfall on any ground surface, much less a fire-burned watershed", Tom Fayram, a Santa Barbara County official told reporters. 4 feet 9 raging mud in the house.

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