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Main » Death toll climbs to 18 in massive Montecito mudslide

Death toll climbs to 18 in massive Montecito mudslide

14 January 2018

"There's been plenty of cases where they've found people a week after", Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason said earlier on a muddy Montecito street especially hard-hit by the mudslide.

The drenching storm that triggered the disaster gave way to sunny skies, as hundreds of searchers carefully combed a messy landscape strewn with hazards.

"We're hoping against hope that we can find somebody that might be alive", Brown said. "The mud is acting like a candy shell on ice cream". The muddy debris also lead to roads closing.

"It doesn't mean that they are all actively missing", Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said Thursday, as reported by

"There are four juveniles on the list", Brown said.

"Most injuries we saw were related to fast-moving debris", Wilson said. "But it just goes to show you, don't do that".

Officials said secondary searches of damaged structures were under way.

TV host Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey talked about the devastation caused by mudslides in their Montecito neighbourhood in Southern California.

It's unclear how many people actually got the alert.

The Montgomery family had just returned from a vacation in Brazil two days before the mudslides. Then she added, with a laugh, "that's very unlike me".

They brought each family member up to the roof, dogs too, and hoisted them up to safety. He searched through debris at her now-destroyed home until receiving confirmation of her death.

They happened when water that would have otherwise been absorbed or at least slowed by vegetation instead instantly ran down creeks and other drainage areas, picking up soil, rocks, trees - and potentially growing powerful enough to carry massive boulders and vehicles. Dozens of homes were swept away during the storm, .

"They're an adorable couple, and they were in love with their house".

"Everybody was exhausted from the fire warnings", Weimer said Friday.

The Thomas fire was the largest wildfire in recorded California history.

"Our home has been severely damaged, but we are safe, and so thankful for that and for the first responders who are working tirelessly to save people", Bridges wrote on Twitter.

Residents who remained in town on Friday were either seen packing up their cars with clothing and other belongings for their latest evacuation or staying out of sight.

Riskin was the founding partner of Riskin Partners, a real estate company that represented buyers and sellers in Montecito, the company's website said. He woke to the sound of pounding rain early Tuesday and went outside to investigate. You hear the word mudslide and you have no idea the impact that it has, but ... it's catastrophic.

Cathy Atkinson, 71, said she had been receiving updates on the situation through daily phone calls from her daughter, who lives in Geneva. When it was over, the Mitchell home was gone, washed down the road toward the ocean.

Farrell planned to float his elderly parents to a hillside on a surfboard, but it was unnecessary. At least two of her family cars were destroyed and she's not sure how her cottage fared.

It is believed that seven people aged between two and 30 are still missing and more than 1,200 rescuers have been drafted in to search the mud in Montecito, which is up to 15ft deep in some areas. Because of the closure, boats were used to ferry some employees to Cottage hospital.

Josie Gower was one of 17 people killed by the mudslides in southern California since Tuesday.