17 dead and 300 homes damaged in California mudslides

Cheryl Sanders
January 13, 2018

Sawyer's sister Morgan, 25, is still missing, according to the report. At least eight people are considered still missing.

But during a later news conference, Brown also announced the recovery of resident John Keating, 53, who only moments before was still categorized as missing.

"He is in an out-of-area hospital being treated".

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said the rescue operation was ongoing and that more survivors may be found alive, but as time goes on it is likely they will find more people dead. His is the first death announced from the slide since Wednesday.

"I'm not sitting at my desk typing on a computer, talking with lawyers about money when I could be effecting change", he said.

They brought each family member up to the roof, dogs too, and hoisted them up to safety. Their ages range from 2 to 53.

Karson, reporting for NPR from Pasadena, Calif., said the mudflows above Montecito were so powerful they ripped some homes off their foundations.


Crews marked places where bodies were found, often far away from a home, and used that information to guess where other victims might have ended up as the surging mud carried or buried them.

The Benitez brothers survived.

But when the storm hit, she was "just exhausted", she said.

Officials say they tried to give people living in the area ample warning starting the weekend before the storm via emails, text messages and phone calls.

Rebecca Riskin was the picture of success and health before she was killed in this week's deadly Montecito mudslides.

The mudslide swept through the coastal community of Montecito on Tuesday morning. Routes in and out of Santa Barbara have been shut down from the south, and various roadways have been swallowed by the floods.

"A number of houses were gutted, with rescuers pulling out people trapped under mountains of debris", KCLU's Lance Orozco wrote on Tuesday night.


The US Forest Service announced on Friday that the fire that burned 440 square miles had been fully contained.

The fire erupted December 4 in Ventura County, destroying hundreds of homes before it spread into Santa Barbara County and threatened more communities including Montecito. "So she's doing a meticulous search where she sniffs little nooks and crannies and sometimes it could be a person and the scent can trickle its way up".

Several dozen people remain missing after mudslides in southern California, the France press reported, citing local authorities. "You have to put a shield up and do your job and just remember. that's not to say that it doesn't upset us but when we're out here we just do our job".

The number of confirmed fatalities remains at 17.

Her husband did much for Catholic causes, Van Hecke said.

The oldest victim swept away in a California mudslide was Jim Mitchell, who had celebrated his 89th birthday the day before.

The youngest, 3-year-old Kailly Benitez, was one of four children killed. "I thought I was dead there for a minute", Lauren Cantin said after workers spent six hours digging her out.


Several news accounts said that a mudslide swept Roy Rohter, who founded St. Augustine Academy in Ventura, and his wife, Theresa, from their home in Montecito early January 9.

Other reports by iNewsToday

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