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Death toll rises to 17 in California mudslides, 17 missing


The death toll from devastating mudslides in affluent communities along a stretch of Southern California coastline rose to 17 on Wednesday after two more bodies were recovered, the local sheriff said, and the number of people missing also climbed to 17.

The two additional fatalities were discovered as some 500 rescuers using search dogs, helicopters and thermal-imaging equipment dug through waist-deep mud for victims or survivors of the mudslides, which were triggered by a heavy downpour early on Tuesday.

Three more people were rescued from the path of debris on Wednesday. None of the dead have been publicly identified.

“We realize that this is going to be a long and difficult journey for all of us and our community,” Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told reporters at a late afternoon news conference.

The walls of mud that roared through foothills and valleys sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the sprawling Los Padres National Forest also destroyed 100 single-family homes, damaged hundreds of other buildings and injured 28 people, said Amber Anderson, a spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.  Read More


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