Snohomish fire chief calls site of mud, muck in Oso "unreal"
Thursday, March 27, 2014 - 01:18
March 27 - Snohomish County's Fire Chief describes the painstaking process of recovering bodies from the site of Saturday's massive landslide, as the media prepares to take its first tour of the site that has left at least 24 people likely dead and as many as 90 others still missing. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
STORY: Local officials in Washington State on Thursday (March 27) described the painstaking process of removing bodies from the site of Saturday's deadly landslide in Oso.
Snohomish County Chief Travis Hots described as "unreal" the square-mile disaster zone of tangled "mud and muck" where rescuers are searching for possibly as many as 90 people still unaccounted for.
"You just can't fathom what we're up against out there until you get out there and see the lay of the land," he told reporters during a Thursday morning news conference. "You've got clay balls the size of ambulances that have rolled off that hill and smashed everything that they've come in contact with."
Saturday's landslide about 55 miles south of Seattle impacted some 100 homes and has left at least 24 people likely dead.
Hots said the death toll will "substantially" increase over the next 24 to 48 hours as the medical examiner completes its processing of newly-found bodies, which have not yet been added to the current official death toll of 16.
On Thursday, the media is expected to take its first close-up tours of the immediate disaster site where some 200 rescue personnel continue their grueling and grim work of search and recovery.
"There was a victim that was in a car that had been driving down the highway and had been moved about 200 feet from where the highway was," Hots told reporters, in reference to his tour of the site on Wednesday, adding that seasoned emergency personnel "tear up" when another fatality is removed from the site.
"It gets really quiet for a few minutes," he said.
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