Authorities: Number of missing in mudslide now 5

Sunday, 14 Jan, 2018

On Thursday morning, 17 people were confirmed dead and 16 were missing after the mudslides in Santa Barbara County.

Before the news conference had ended, Brown returned to the microphone, and with a happy tone said a phone call had just come in about Keating.

Brown said Bleckel had been on the sheriff's missing persons list before he was discovered.

The death toll from the Wednesday's storm that led to a massive flooding and mudslides in the Santa Barbara County in California increased to 18, after the body of an 87-year old man was fished out from the rubble.

The Golden Globes victor said she did not realise the scale of the devastation until she put on her boots and waded through the mud in her yard. "We're affected here in Carpinteria in the sense that we're taking these people in and a lot of people are out of work because they can't travel".

Fourteen-year-old Lauren Cantin became the face of survival when rescuers pulled the dazed, mud-covered girl from her flattened home in Montecito earlier this week, but family friends who launched a GoFundMe page reported her father and older brother were still missing.

The husbands of both women and the 2-year-old son of Fabiola Benitez, were hospitalized with injuries, Ramos said. "It's as devastating as can be", she said. He shared the home with his partner, who owned a cafe in Santa Barbara.

Search and rescue crews have been digging through feet of mud and piles of debris for five days as they look for survivors and victims of Tuesday's deadly mudslide.

A mandatory evacuation order has been extended, as Santa Barbara's County Sherriff said residents staying behind were hindering recovery efforts.

The disaster struck on Tuesday after heavy rains soaked the area near Montecito, where vegetation had been denuded by the largest wildfire in California's history.

Santa Barbara County spokeswoman Amber Anderson released the latest number early Friday.

None of the dead have been formally identified, but the names of some of those killed and missing in the mudslides have begun to trickle out.

Other victims of the storm that killed at least 17 people remained missing Thursday while still others marveled that they had somehow survived the devastation. He died with his wife of more than 50 years, Alice.

"It is a massive operation that we have underway, still in the search and rescue mode, as mentioned, but as we transition and will transition to a recovery mode, we realize that this is going to be a long and hard journey for all of us and for our community", he said.

Helicopters were used to hoist more than 50 people to safety from roofs, where they scrambled to escape the mud or because debris had blocked roads and left them stranded.

The mudslide swept through the coastal community of Montecito on Tuesday morning, catching numerous victims entirely off-guard.