UK & World News

  • 28 March 2014, 11:53

Mudslide's Youngest Victim Found Amid Rubble

The body of a four-month-old baby has been pulled out of the rubble after a devastating mudslide in Washington State.

The grim discovery came as authorities were expected to revise upwards the official death toll from Saturday's slide in the small community of Oso.

So far, 26 people have been confirmed dead, including nine bodies that have yet to be pulled out.

Ninety people are still counted as missing. Authorities are checking into 35 other people who may or may not have been in the area at the time of the slide.

Baby girl Sanoah Huestis became the youngest victim of the tragedy in this small town about 55 miles (90km) north of Seattle, on Saturday morning.

The girl was with her grandmother, Christina Jefferds, when the slide hit. The woman is also confirmed to have died.

Dale Petersen, the girl's great-uncle, said that as he arrived at the scene on Thursday, a firefighter informed him and others that the infant had been found.

"We spent a lot of time together," he said of the baby girl.

The rescue teams have worked relentlessly to try to find survivors, their search hampered by treacherous condition and the risk of further slide.

"If you could imagine houses, trees and a bunch of mud put in a blender, run for a bit and dumped back on the ground, that's what it looks like," said Washington National Guard Master Sergeant Chris Martin.

Officials have acknowledged that some victims' remains may never be recovered from the mud-caked debris.

An estimated 180 people lived in the path of the mudslide, which took place after a rain-soaked hillside collapsed. 

Seismic signals have showed there were two slides about four minutes apart during the disaster, with smaller slides continuing for days.