Oso Crews Opt For More 'Methodical' Tactics As Wet Weather Slows Search

Mar 28, 2014

Authorities have released the names of five of the victims of last weekend’s deadly mudslide in Oso that left at least 25 people dead and dozens more missing.

The Snohomish County medical examiner confirmed the names of five victims. The youngest is 5-year-old Kaylee Spillers. Also killed were Christina Jefferds, William Welsh and Linda McPherson of Arlington, and Stephen Neal of Darrington.

Crews were conducting rescue and recovery missions at the site of the slide Friday, using chainsaws to cut through tree trunks sunken in thick mud amid the wreckage of homes.

Snohomish County Fire Battalion Chief Steve Mason said crews altered their search tactics Friday, opting to be more thorough instead of sweeping through buried homes.

“As we move through this process, we want to be more and more, I want to say, methodical,” he said.

Periodic rain slowed down rescue efforts Friday, but Mason said it’s not just the mud that makes the delicate search through debris difficult, he said.

“All this trees and everything, and all the dirt all came down the mountain. And it’s kind of like a fiberglass. You’ve got the trees infused with the mud with the homeowners’ stuff, with everything, it’s all infused together,” he said.

County officials said they’ve been overwhelmed with contributions to the rescue and relief efforts, and are now only accepting cash donations. Mason said he has more than enough help from volunteers at the site.