At least 17 killed in California mudslides

Saturday, 13 Jan, 2018

"Praying for our community again in Santa Barbara".

Hospital spokeswoman Maria Zarte says Montgomery was an orthopedic surgeon with a subspecialty in hand surgery.

Caroline Montgomery, 22, Mark Montgomery's daughter, also died in the slide, KSBY reported.

Even wrecked cars have been swept onto beaches.

The Coast Guard, National Guard and a search-and-rescue team from nearby Los Angeles County have joined the rescue effort.

"Right now, our assets are focused on determining if anyone is still alive in any of those structures that have been damaged", Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told Los Angeles television station KCAL.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department on Wednesday declared a Public Safety Zone in Monecito, where most of the missing have been reported.

The number of missing has fluctuated throughout the day. But it also encompasses those who have been named in calls to the operations center and family assistance center.

Terrifying wildfires forced people to evacuate in December, and the mudslides struck just two weeks after they returned.

The disaster was already unfolding when Santa Barbara County officials sent out their first cellphone alert, at 3:50 a.m. County emergency manager Jeff Gater said officials decided not to send one sooner out of concern it might not be taken seriously.

The downpour fell in areas charred by recent wildfires, which burned vegetation that otherwise could make the terrain more resistant to mudslides. "It continues as a search and rescue mission".

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"We have a yard to redo and hopefully our insurance will help out with that, but the people across from me, newer homes, gone", said Garrett Speirs, a 54-year-old artist who has been living in Montecito for 20 years. Lauren's 16-year-old brother, Jack, is missing.

"I thought I was dead for a minute there", the dazed girl could be heard saying before she was taken away on a stretcher.

Cullen said the work has been exhausting and, at times, emotional.

Although three people were rescued on Wednesday, two more bodies were also recovered - taking the death toll from the disaster to 17 people.

Rebecca Riskin, 61. Founder of real estate agency Riskin Partners; former dancer with American Ballet Theater in NY. Her daughter-in-law Sarah Gower confirmed Gower's death in a Facebook post.

The statement says Riskin was an "exceptional woman" who had exuded strength, grace and elegance. Many people are on edge, awaiting news about missing loved ones. A clerical error earlier on Thursday briefly inflated that to 48 before it was corrected.

In the days leading up to the storm, the county had issued numerous warnings about the possibility of mudflows on the county's website and social media, through news outlets and via community information emails that residents can sign up to receive.

He said: "Realistically we suspect we are going to have the discovery of more people killed in this incident".

Only an estimated 10 to 15 percent of residents fled when ordered, and much of the damage occurred where evacuations were voluntary.

Hundreds of searchers are still hunting for survivors of the flash flooding and mudslides near Santa Barbara, California. "The mud and the debris is hindering progress".

Asher's return to the scene, where murky water was knee-deep, turned up at least one gem: his wife's engagement ring, the only keepsake she wanted him to find.