Rescue crews still sifting through California rubble

Rescue crews still sifting through California rubble

At least 18 were killed in the mudslide and as many as seven are still missing, according to Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office.

The walls of fast-moving mud and debris that tore through hillside communities before dawn on Tuesday took the lives of three children, at least one married couple and two people in their 80s, officials said in releasing the names of the dead. Her 12-year-old sister Sawyer had previously been discovered dead after their home was swept away this week.

"At this moment, we are still looking for live victims", Pitney said.

Authorities raised the number of those considered missing to 43 at yesterday's press conference, up from eight earlier in the day, saying that some of those people may be out of town or in a hospital but that others may be deceased.

"My sister was such a good person, she only thought of others to the point that she would cry with you when you were hurt or sick", said Ramos' sister, Jennifer Ramos, pausing to sob for several seconds. "It just exhausts the crews out there", Sacramento Fire Department Captain Pat Costamagna said in a social media video from the governor's emergency management office.

Long-range forecasts gave the crews about a week before the next chance of rain - and potential new mudslides - although the precipitation was expected to be disorganized and light.

The Montgomery family had just returned from a vacation in Brazil two days before the mudslides.

Curious and concerned citizens who had trudged through the mud Thursday to view the devastation were nowhere to be seen as more firefighters in bright yellow rain gear searched methodically and utility crews in orange safety vests worked with chain saws and jackhammers.

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While evacuation orders and warnings were lifted for some of the afflicted areas, Brown warned that many areas remain off-limits while emergency responders and vehicles are at work. About 10,000 people are under mandatory evacuation orders.

"It is not a safe or convenient place to be right now", he said.

Bulldozers have been used to clear roads of tangled trees, muck and boulders as trucks hauled off floodwaters siphoned off US Highway 101, the crippled coastal route connecting Santa Barbara to Ventura.

The destruction covered 30 square miles, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

Amtrak, which began restoring rail service two days after the flood, was adding cars to trains because of heavy demand.

Henzgen, the Los Angeles Fire Department captain, pointed to a almost empty lot.

Each member of his team is given a section and must reduce any piles to ground level.

"He said so many times that after his passing, 'Make sure everyone prays for my soul.' We will, Roy!" It erupted December 4 in Ventura County and destroyed more than 1,000 structures as it swept through the city of Ventura and then threatened Carpinteria, Summerland and Santa Barbara.

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