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.
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.
The first wave of memorial services honoring the victims who perished in the Oso landslide took place this weekend.
In Darrington, residents gathered to remember Linda McPherson, a longtime resident and librarian. After the service, the community gathered for a meal together. It's a special tradition that goes back many decades in this small community.
An orange backhoe beeps in the background as cleanup workers and search dogs slog through the gray-blue clay of the Oso landslide zone. In the distance a muddy American flag waves over hummocks of exposed roots, broken trees and the remnants of the 42 homes that used to line this stretch of highway in the Cascade Mountains northeast of Seattle.
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.