Desperate search for survivors in California mudslides

A member of the Long Beach Search and Rescue team looks for survivors in a car in Montecito

The Sputnik news agency quoted County Sheriff Bill Brown as saying, "I'm saddened to report today that another victim was located, bringing the total number of fatal casualties from this tragic incident to 18".

"He is in an out-of-area hospital being treated".

Mr Farrell said he and his family were able to escape injury by hunkering down in a hallway at the back of the house and standing in thigh-high mud for more than an hour before they were rescued.

"There's been plenty of cases where they've found people a week after", Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason said. His is the first death announced from the slide since Wednesday.

Brown did say that of the 17 people he announced were missing Wednesday, some were identified as among the dead and were crossed off the list. "We're affected here in Carpinteria in the sense that we're taking these people in and a lot of people are out of work because they can't travel".

Benitez lived with her sister-in-law, Marilyn Ramos, 27, who was asleep with her daughter, Kaelly, three, when mud crashed through their Montecito rental home, carrying both to their deaths.

Sally Mobraaten, 56, arrived at an evacuation center at Santa Barbara City College on Monday night desperately looking for her missing 86-year-old mother.

The Benitez brothers are gardeners.

She said: "If you've never been there, Montecito is a small town. It's as devastating as can be", she said.

The host opened her show talking to the audience about the devastation before she FaceTimed Winfrey, who lives in the same Santa Barbara County area as DeGeneres and her wife, Portia de Rossi. Benitez's husband and older son were rescued and hospitalized in stable condition, according to Lieberman, who said Benitez and her 9-year-old son remain missing and are feared dead.

Numerous deaths and injuries occurred at locations that were not under mandatory evacuation for flooding, but weeks earlier, said areas were evacuated during a series of fires.

"But after the largest fire in California history, it's catastrophic, it's beyond recognizable".

Earlier in the day, officials placed the number of missing at eight.

Rebecca Riskin, a 61-year-old retired professional ballerina and founder of real estate firm Riskin Partners, died in Montecito as a result of the flooding and mudslides in the area, the firm confirmed in a Facebook post and statement.

"It is a massive operation that we have underway, still in the search and rescue mode, as mentioned, but as we transition and will transition to a recovery mode, we realize that this is going to be a long and hard journey for all of us and for our community", he said.

The army of searchers and recovery workers in Montecito swelled to more than 2,000 five days after a powerful storm swept in from the Pacific and dumped a deluge on mountain slopes above the coastal enclave that were burned bare by a huge wildfire in December.

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