First responders search for 8 still missing after California mudslides

Jose Verdugo
Enero 13, 2018

Controversy continues to brew over whether or not residents living in the areas hit hardest by the recent mudslides in Montecito were properly warned by Santa Barbara County officials.

Among the damaged properties were historic hotels and the homes of celebrities including television personality Oprah Winfrey and talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres, who both live in the upscale hillside community of Montecito, known for its natural beauty and proximity to Los Angeles.

The Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management said Tuesday night that Montecito would be without potable water, electricity and sanitation "for an extended period of time".

Thousands fled the deluge and more than 50 rescues have been performed.

Santa Barbara Fire Chief Pat McElroy on Tuesday gave a heartfelt presentation about the deadly and devastating impact of the Montecito mudslides and flooding.

It could include everything from urgent, active missing-persons cases being worked by detectives to calls received from acquaintances saying they hadn't been able to reach someone they believe was in Montecito on Tuesday morning when mudslides swept through town and killed 17 people.

"We have a lot of clues and indications as to who people are; we have to get this right", Brown said, adding the identities of the deceased will be released sometime in the future.

County Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason said: "It's going to be worse than anyone imagined for our area".

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The department posted pictures of rivers of mud flowing through neighborhoods, with homes collapsed, cars smashed up and turned onto their roofs and roads rendered impassible by fallen trees.

The mud flow also prompted the closure of the 101 Freeway.

"What a day! Praying for our community again in Santa Barbara".

State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson said: "The water was moving at 15 miles an hour, taking everything in its wake, dropping boulders and debris, clogging culverts, knocking out pipes,".

"We dug down and found a little baby, I don't know where it came from". One piece of video from Tuesday shows a vehicle being carried along a curvy, downward-sloping street, engulfed by mud on all sides.

The county set up an evacuation shelter at Santa Barbara City College and also gave residents a place to take their animals.

The 81 year-old swimmer, who won two golds in the 1960 games was rescued by his son Marco, who said the couple had "evacuation fatigue" after leaving to avoid wild fires last month.

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