Death Toll Hits 37 In Washington Landslide; Seven Remain Missing
By Paresh Dave, Los Angeles Times
A 37th body has been recovered from the debris of last month’s landslide in Washington, officials announced Tuesday.
The remains have not yet been identified, leaving the number of missing people at seven.
The powerful and quick-moving landslide on March 22 in Oso killed families at home and contractors who were working in the community. A 37-year-old man remained hospitalized late Monday in satisfactory condition, Harborview Medical Center said.
Officials said search crews were helped Monday by a rain-free day — but there was a 70 percent chance of rain Tuesday.
The landslide flowed across a river in a square-mile debris field. Workers at the site are moving around the debris and pumping out water to gain access to unsearched areas. They have “made good progress” on building a temporary berm to block additional water from penetrating some of the debris, the county said.
The landslide also blocked a two-lane highway that is main link between rural communities and the cities of Everett and Seattle. Snohomish County officials said the Red Cross is providing gas cards to help residents who have had to shift their routes. State transportation managers have also begun meeting with community members to see how and when to clear the highway and reopen it.
President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit the area and meet with victims’ families on the one-month anniversary of the landslide next Tuesday. This week, Gov. Jay Inslee ordered flags to be kept at half-staff through the 22nd.
Lindsey Wasson/Seattle Times/MCT