Rescue officials updated the number of missing to 43 as of Thursday as the search continues for survivors. The mud and debris left in the wake of the massive mudslides have devastated parts of Southern California.
<img src="https://media.8ch.net/file_store/875d4fde2e85f6a81576197742e6bbf26a4fc33ff738579dd35a367184c5d464.jpg" style="max-height:640px;max-width:360px;">
<span style="margin-top:15px;rgba(42,51,6,0.7);font-size:12px;">Credit: Los Angeles Times</span>
Officials originally pegged the number of missing at eight, but that number increased after authorities searched social media posts and message boards at evacuation shelters. The list has also been updated to exclude those who have been found or are confirmed dead. Among those confirmed dead are four children.
"It’s a constantly moving number," Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said. He also added that he expects the death toll to rise from the current number of at least 17. The mudslides shut down major roadways including highway 101 and destroyed scores of homes.
Those confirmed dead include Jonathan Benitez, 10; Kailly Benitez, 3; Martin Cabrera-Munoz, 48; David Cantin, 49; Sawyer Corey, 12; Peter Fleurat, 73; Josephine Gower, 69; John McManigal, 61; Alice Mitchell, 78; James Mitchell, 89; Mark Montgomery, 54; Caroline Montgomery, 22; Marilyn Ramos, 27; Rebecca Riskin, 61; Roy Rohter, 84; Peerawat Sutthithepn, 6; and Richard Taylor, 67.
The official cause of death is listed by the county coroner as "multiple traumatic injuries due to flash flood with mudslides due to recent wildfire." The especially devastating wildfire year burned off most of the vegetation that holds the soil in place on the hillsides, so when massive downpours of rain started the water took all the soil with it.
Brown also said, "It is a massive operation that we have underway, still in the search and rescue mode … but as we transition and will transition to a recovery mode, we realize that this is going to be a long and difficult journey for all of us and for our community."
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