washington mudslide

Ashley Ahearn

The landslide in Oso, Washington served as a devastating reminder of one fact of life in the Northwest: landslides happen.

In some places, it’s a risk people have learned to live with.

Landslides have wiped out the only access road to one rural community along the Skykomish River three times since December. A dozen homes in the Mt. Index River Sites community were destroyed by the slides. Fortunately no one was hurt.

Washington State Patrol

Seattle just wrapped up its wettest March on record.
Geologists say heavy rain in the Cascade Mountains northeast of Seattle was key in triggering the landslide that killed at least 24 people in the town of Oso last week.
But they say clearcutting nearby could also have worsened the risk of the hillside collapsing.

Kara McDermott

The death roll has risen to 21 following the massive landslide near Oso, Washington. But the number of missing has been lowered dramatically--to 30. Over the weekend, the search for victims continued. At the same time, residents in the nearby town of Darrington paused to pray and reflect.

Here at First Baptist Church, they prayed for the families of the victims. Members of the congregation also told stories of survival. Steve Sconce was supposed to have been fixing a roof on a house directly in the path of the landslide.

Landslide Death Toll Rises, Number Of Missing Drops

Mar 30, 2014
Chris Lehman

The death toll has risen to 18 following the devastating landslide near Oso, Washington. One bright spot: The number of people missing has fallen dramatically. It's now down to 30.

Searchers are still pulling bodies from the debris…sometimes in pieces. Steve Schertzinger is a chaplain  with the nearby Marysville Police Department. He describes what it was like to deliver bad news to a grieving family member.

Steve Schertzinger: "We sat down and I just said well, the waiting is over. And then I cried. I cried."

Phyllis Fletcher, KUOW.

Wednesday night an emergency commander in Darrington, Washington told a packed town meeting the number of confirmed dead in the Oso landslide is now 25. And dozens are still missing.
The numbers change as bodies are recovered. It’s grim and exhausting work.


Bob DeYoung came to a prayer vigil in Darrington wearing thick suspenders that held up jeans covered in mud.

DeYoung: “Sticks to everything.”

You could see he had been working hard. He had been out all day.