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More than 40 People Remain Missing after the Mudslides in California

14 January 2018

Five people were missing as of early on Friday, down from as many as 43 a day earlier, said Amber Anderson, a spokesperson for Santa Barbara County.

As the names of the 17 California mudslide victims were released Thursday (local time), crews kept digging through the muck and rubble looking for more people.

Farrell along with his parents and their dog took refuge in their hallway filled thigh-high with water for more than an hour as the flood rushed through their home, The ABC reported.

The number of missing has fluctuated as people were located, said the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office.

"It's martial law here, basically", said Sarah Ettman, whose home was undamaged. "It's martial law here, basically".

"In disaster circumstances, there have been many miraculous stories of people lasting many days".

"I told her to stay on the second floor, but she went downstairs and opened the door and just got swept away", Hayden Gower said.

More than 1,200 workers have been deployed in the town of about 9,000 residents for the search and cleanup effort.

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

More than 40 People Remain Missing after the Mudslides in California
More than 40 People Remain Missing after the Mudslides in California

The SDFD California Task Force 8 canine search and rescue mission ready package team was scheduled to depart Wednesday at 3 p.m.

The seven missing - whose ages range from two to 62 - include Fabiola Benitez, the mother of Jonathan Benitez, a 10-year-old killed in the flooding.

She said: "If you've never been there, Montecito is a small town".

Ramos" sister Jennifer said: "My sister was such a good person, she only thought of others to the point that she would cry with you when you were hurt or sick'.

Trashed areas were awash in a sea of mud, with only the tallest trees standing and some homes buried up to their roofs. U.S. Route 101, California's primary coastal route, remains partially shut down. That "river" is the 101 freeway.

Thousands are without power in and around Santa Barbara, northwest of Los Angeles. "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.

Residents are told to use caution when returning to their homes and know that returning to the damaged neighborhoods can be a traumatic experience.

The order to stay away was another hard 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 Rohters have been longtime benefactors of the college in Santa Paula.

The images also show charred land destroyed by the massive Thomas Fire, which burned for more than a month.

More than 40 People Remain Missing after the Mudslides in California