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Rescuers in California mudslides race against time to find several missing

Rescuers in California mudslides race against time to find several missing
From CBC - January 11, 2018

Rescue crews in Southern California resumed the arduous task of combing through tonnes of debris Thursday for survivors from deadly mudslides that struck along the state's picturesque coastal communities.

Seventeen people are confirmed dead and another eight people are missing after a wall of mud roared down hillsides in the scenic area between the Pacific Ocean and the Los Padres National Forest, according to authorities in Santa Barbara County.

"Right now, our assets are focused on determining if anyone is still alive in any of those structures that have been damaged," Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told Los Angeles television station KCAL.

Santa Barbara County originally reported a far higher number of missing persons early Thursday, but soon walked the number back, citing a clerical error.

Some 500 rescuers using search dogs, military helicopters, and thermal imaging equipment are at the scene.

Search and rescue efforts have been slow as crews have to navigate through waist-deep mud, fallen trees, boulders and other debris.

"Another tough day in Santa Barbara County as Search and Rescue, Fire and Law Enforcement personnel from across our county and our neighbouring counties searched for survivors and evacuated people," the sheriff's office said on its Twitter feed late Wednesday night.

28 people injured

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