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Catastrophic mudslides "just happen": Washington state emergency official

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 01:21

March 26 - The top emergency management official in Washington state's Snohomish County says catastrophic mudslides, like the one that likely killed at least 24 people in Oso, ''just happen'' and that forecasting the disaster may have been impossible. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Local officials in Washington state briefed reporters on Wednesday (March 26) on the latest search, rescue and recovery efforts at the site of the catastrophic mudslide over the weekend that likely killed at least 24 people and left as many as 176 others still unaccounted for. The mudslide that impacted the small community of Oso was near the site of another devastating mudslide in 2006. When asked by a reporter about the area's risk of mudslides, Snohomosh County Director of Emergency Management John Pennington said major disasters like these sometimes "just happen." "People knew that this is a landslide prone area," said Pennington. "Sometimes large events that nobody sees happen and this event happened, and I want to find out why, I want to understand why." "It haunts me, " he continued. Some 200 rescue personnel, including the Washington National Guard resumed their search on Wednesday at first light. The discovery of additional eight bodies on Tuesday came as crews searched under drizzly skies for survivors of the mudslide, amid fading hopes that anyone could still be plucked alive from the massive pile of muck and debris. Rain is forecast straight through Saturday in western Washington, complicating the search for victims.

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Catastrophic mudslides "just happen": Washington state emergency official

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 01:21