Tags: washington | mudslide | death | toll | 33

Washington Mudslide Death Toll at 33; Some Still Unidentified

Image: Washington Mudslide Death Toll at 33; Some Still Unidentified

Tuesday, 08 Apr 2014 08:51 AM

By Michael Mullins

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The death toll from a Washington mudslide  has risen to 33, with all but three of the victims now identified, according to the medical examiner's office in Snohomish County. Twelve people remain missing.

Billy L. Spillers, 30, was the latest name to be added to the list of victims.Like many of the others, he died from multiple blunt force injuries, The Associated Press reported.

A Navy chief petty officer, Spillers lived with his wife, Jonielle, and their four children. Spillers' daughter Kaylee, 5, and stepson Jovon Mangual, 13, have been identified among the dead, while his 2-year-old daughter Brooke is listed among the missing, Fox News reported.

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Spillers' 4-year-old son survived the natural disaster having been rescued by a helicopter from the scene. At the time of the mudslide, Jonielle was said to be at her nursing job.

On March 22, the tiny town of Oso, about 55 miles northeast of Seattle, was covered by an enormous mudslide that buried roads and neighborhoods in a rural residential area along the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River.

As of Monday, more than 220 people had registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, requesting individual assistance for the losses they suffered from the disaster, according to FEMA spokesman David Mace. FEMA is presently operating three disaster recovery centers in the area for slide victims.

While the search for the missing continues, the Army Corps of Engineers is said to be constructing a berm — a big rock and gravel barrier – near the site so to allow rescue workers increased access to areas that still must be drained. The berm should be finished within a week, according to Snohomish County Public Works Director Steve Thomsen.

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What triggered the mudslide has yet to be determined.

Scientists with the University of Washington have teamed up with a New York-based radar company to survey the surrounding area from the air in the hopes of finding clues as to the root cause of the mudslide, SeattlePi.com reported.

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