March 28 - The Washington state death toll is expected to soar as heavy rain and wind complicate search for missing people following a mudslide. Rough cut (no reporter narration).
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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
Snohomish County officials confirmed on Friday morning (March 28) that 17 are dead following a catastrophic mudslide in Washington state.
Although the remains of 26 people killed by the landslide were known to have been found, local authorities for days have been counting only those who have been recovered and examined by coroners for inclusion in the official death toll.
"The medical examiner's office has confirmed 17 fatalities at this time. The Snohomish County Sheriff's office and the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's office expects to provide us with some additional numbers later this afternoon," Travis Hots, Snohomish County District 21 Fire Chief said at a news conference.
Hots also said that poor weather is making the search for missing people difficult.
"The wind and the rain and the weather is basically working against us - 100 percent chance of rain, we're looking at winds of 20 miles an hour in places on the site. That's going to further complicate things for our responders that are up there."
"We've got new geologists that are arriving on the scene to offer additional opinions to make sure that there's not the risk of additional slides that could occur," he added.
Authorities have acknowledged there is little chance of finding any more survivors in the massive mound of mud, and rubble left by the slide.
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