Survivor Describes Harrowing Landslide Moment

Apr 9, 2014

Washington mudslide survivor Amanda Skorjanc, left, talks to the media with her partner Ty Suddarth at Harborview Medical Center, April 9, 2014, in Seattle. On March 22, Skorjanic said she was trapped in a pocket formed by her broken couch and pieces of her roof with her infant son.
Washington mudslide survivor Amanda Skorjanc, left, talks to the media with her partner Ty Suddarth at Harborview Medical Center, April 9, 2014, in Seattle. On March 22, Skorjanic said she was trapped in a pocket formed by her broken couch and pieces of her roof with her infant son.
Credit AP Photo/The Herald, Dan Bates, Pool

In this undated photo provided by Amanda Skorjanc and Ty Suddarth, Duke Suddarth sits with stuffed animals. The 5-month-old baby rescued from a Oso, Wash., landslide is listed in satisfactory condition and improving at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
In this undated photo provided by Amanda Skorjanc and Ty Suddarth, Duke Suddarth sits with stuffed animals. The 5-month-old baby rescued from a Oso, Wash., landslide is listed in satisfactory condition and improving at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Credit AP Photo/Courtesy of Amanda Skorjanc and Ty Suddarth

Oso landslide survivor Amanda Skorjanc spoke from her hospital bed at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle on Wednesday. She and her 5-month-old baby Duke Suddarth are among the few who survived the landslide.

As Skorjanc’s partner Ty Suddarth sits next to her, she describes that moment when the landslide hit.

It carried her and her son 600 feet from where their home once stood.

Transcript: Amanda Skorjanc Recalls March 22 Oso Mudslide 

Ty had just given us a big family hug and he was going into Darrington to the hardware store.

Duke and I were watching YouTube videos in our kitchen and I heard what sounded like a truck off a rumble strip and then it continued and I thought, ‘Oh maybe it’s an earthquake,’ and the lights started to blink and then I looked out our side door and I didn’t see anything. 

And then I looked out our front door and it was like a movie. Houses were exploding and the next thing I remember, well the next thing I see, is our neighbor’s chimney coming into our front door and I turned and I held Duke and I did not let him go.

In this undated photo provided by Amanda Skorjanc and Ty Suddarth, Duke Suddarth is held by Skorjanc, his mother, with Ty Suddarth.
In this undated photo provided by Amanda Skorjanc and Ty Suddarth, Duke Suddarth is held by Skorjanc, his mother, with Ty Suddarth.
Credit AP Photo/Courtesy of Amanda Skorjanc and Ty Suddarth

It was super fast, but it felt like forever. But when we finally stopped moving, I noticed that the couch had been broken around us and then our La-Z-Boy had been broken around us, so we were in this little cushioned pocket.

There was a pillow by us and I found a hole and I tried to get [Duke out] – I figured if I put the pillow outside this hole and put Duke on it and that if I didn’t make it, they would find him. But I couldn’t move him because my arm was too broke to move it, so I just sat there with him and waited. 

And then I started to hear sirens. Oh my god, the most amazing sound I’ve ever heard.

Skorjanc said five or six men helped her get out. They used two chainsaws to cut into the couch and the chair.

She said now that her legs, face and arm is healing, the emotional pain is worse than the physical. She and Ty Suddarth plan to take a trip soon to personally thank some of the rescuers.