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California mudslide's victims include three-year-old, octogenarians

From Reuters - January 11, 2018

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (Reuters) - The mudslides that tore through a coastal Southern California area this week claimed the lives of children as young as 3 and senior citizens as old as 89, officials said on Thursday, while rescue crews continued to search for eight people believed missing.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriffs office released the names of all 17 people killed in the slides, including three children, aged 3, 6 and 10, at least one married couple and two people in their 80s.

Some 700 rescue workers in helicopters and high-wheeled military vehicles picked through waist-deep mud in the hunt for the missing in a disaster zone littered with the remnants of hundreds of damaged or destroyed homes.

The focus is still on search and rescue; thats still our primary goal, Amber Anderson, a spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, said.

Among the dead were an elderly woman whose house was washed away by mud, the founder of a Roman Catholic school and a real estate executive, according to friends, family and local news media.

The cause of death for all 17 will be listed as multiple traumatic injuries due to flash flood with mudslides, the Santa Barbara Sheriffs office said in a statement.

The Sheriffs Office wants to express our heartfelt sadness to the family and friends of those who lost their loved ones, it said.

SWEPT AWAY

Two of the victims were killed when their houses were swept away in the mudslides.

Josephine Gower, 69, died when she opened the door to her house, her son, Hayden Gower, told NBC station KSBY. Her daughter-in-law Sarah Gower confirmed Gowers death in a Facebook post. Her body was found that night, near a highway hit by the slide.

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