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Authorities Raise Number Of Dead In Mudslide To 24

Update at 9:38 p.m. EDT

Snohomish County authorities say they believe 22 people are still missing in the deadly March 22 mudslide near Oso, Wash.

It's a tiny bit of good news in a heartbreaking story: The number is down from the 30 they had previously thought were missing.

The death toll remains at 24.

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The number of people who died because of the Oso, Wash., mudslide has risen to 24, the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office said on Monday.

The ME said of the 24, they've positively identified 17 of them.

The Seattle Times reports that the number of missing stands at about 30.

KIRO-TV says crews are still digging through mud for victims, sometimes alongside family members who have not given up hope of finding someone alive. KIRO adds:

"When crews are digging in the field they're coming across toxic sewage, household solvents, gas, oil and other substances.

"Steve Harris, division supervisor for the eastern incident management team in Darrington, said the debris pile is up to 70 feet deep in places.

"While describing the force of the slide, Harris said cars were compacted down to the size of a refrigerator and that crews have been finding five to six victims a day."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.