The massive mudslide that engulfed Oso on March 22 has claimed at least 30 lives and destroyed dozens of homes.
While the community suffered countless devastation, the helicopter rescue team was instrumental in saving eight people. One of them was 4-year-old Jacob Spillers. His rescue was captured in the video below.
Ross Reynolds talks with Irwin Redlener, author of "Americans at Risk: Why We Are Not Prepared for Megadisasters and What We Can Do." Redlener explains why natural disasters like the Oso landslide are rarely the wake-up calls we'd expect.
Stacy Noland deployed to Oso, Wash., with the Global Disaster Innovation Group Field Innovation Team three days after the fatal landslide there. Noland has worked in rescue and recovery operations following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the 2011 Joplin tornado, and Hurricane Sandy in 2012. His role at the debris pile was to figure out how to make rescue and recovery most efficient. We asked what he has learned so far.
Bill Radke talks with Washington State Patrol chaplain Mike Neil about his experiences helping people with the emotional toll of the Oso mudslide.
Neil is there to serve the search crews in the debris field, many of whom are the family and friends of victims. “Put yourself in that position of actually finding that person – that is a very traumatic thing and I’m not sure that they’re really prepared for what they might find,” Neil said.
As of Wednesday morning, the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s office has confirmed that 29 people have died in the Oso landslide. Hopes of finding survivors are dwindling.
That’s taking a toll on the families and the search crews, some who have been out there since the very beginning, doing intense physical and emotional work. Rescue operations managers are very conscious about giving those crews a break, letting them rotate in and out so they can rest and recharge.
Bill Radke talks with Los Angeles Fire Captain Ronald Klamecki about his own work in a landslide recovery in California and how authorities will decide regarding their next steps.
"As days go by, the potential of finding live victims diminishes. The rescuers are really putting forth the great effort and it wears on them too," he said. "They're doing their very best to bring closure to the victims' families."
The last time the U.S. Geological Survey made a national map of landslide hazards, it did so on paper. It didn’t use laser imaging for landslide detection and it didn’t render the maps with high-powered geographic software near-universally used in today’s maps.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story stated that land above the Oso landslide zone was logged in 2005. The site was logged in 2004 and replanted in 2005.
Seattle just wrapped up its wettest March on record, with 9.4 inches of rain reported at Sea-Tac International Airport.
Geologists say near-record rain in the Cascade foothills was key in triggering the fatal landslide near the town of Oso, Wash., on March 22. But they say clear-cutting nearby could also have worsened the risk of the hillside collapsing.