Mortuary team joins search for victims missing in mudslide
OSO, Wash. -- Pounding rain is adding risk for dozens of rescuers combing through mounds of mud, searching with hands and shovels for dozens of bodies believed buried beneath a square mile of sludge.
"It's my understanding, we have found some additional bodies. We're in the process of bringing them out," said Snohomish County Sheriff Ty Trenary.
That means the latest death toll of 14 is expected to increase by Tuesday evening.
The National Guard, FEMA, doctors and dogs joined in the search for 176 people missing since Saturday's massive mudslide. A mortuary team also came in to help the medical examiners. That's not uncommon in disasters but speaks volumes about what's expected to come out of Oso.
Crews are trying to ping for cell phones to find individuals lost in the debris. Heavy rain is making conditions difficult for rescuers.
"They're literally geting stuck sometimes all the way up to their wastes which means then they need help getting out of the area," Trenary said.
One volunteer rescuer was hit in the head by flying debris whipped up from a landing helicopter. His injuries were minor but he was airlifted out of the slide zone.
Authorities say another challenge is rogue rescuers frustrated that it's taking so long to locate the missing.
"They're not in our information loop, they don't have our communications equipment. They're putting themselves in extreme danger," said Fire Chief Travis Hots.
Officials searching for a cause say they learned of a recent quake near the landslide.
"You have to dig pretty deep but we found there was a 1.1 earthquake approximately 100 yards right behind the slide March 10," Pennington said.