Death toll in Washington state mudslide rises to 35

Tue Apr 8, 2014 8:59pm EDT

1 of 9. Members of communities affected by the Oso mudslide participate a candlelight vigil at the Community Center in Darrington, Washington April 5, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Redmond

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(Reuters) - The death toll in a mudslide that devastated a rural Washington state community last month rose to 35 on Tuesday as two more bodies were extricated from the rubble and President Barack Obama pledged to visit the town at the center of the devastation.

A rain-soaked hillside collapsed without warning above the north fork of the Stillaguamish River on March 22, unleashing a torrent of mud that engulfed some three dozen homes on the outskirts of the tiny community of Oso.

Of the 35 people confirmed dead, 31 have been identified, Snohomish County officials said in a statement. One of the latest victims identified was a 2-year-old girl. The death toll had stood at 33 on Monday.

Recovery crews were still searching for another 11 missing people, including two boys, ages 4 and 14.

Obama will stop in Oso on April 22, before starting out on a week-long trip to Asia, the White House said on Tuesday. The president plans to view the devastation and meet with families of those affected by the disaster, as well as first responders and recovery workers.

Recovery efforts have been hampered by rain, which has created treacherous conditions and raised the risk of further slides and flash floods.

No one has been pulled alive from the rubble since the landslide, when at least eight people were injured but survived. Rescue teams have since found no signs of life.

(Reporting by Cynthia Johnston in Las Vegas and Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles,; Editing by Scott Malone, Jonathan Oatis and Lisa Shumaker)

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