California mudslide victims include 3-year-old girl

California mudslide victims include 3-year-old girl
From BBC - January 12, 2018

California officials have identified 17 victims, the youngest of which was 3 years old, as rescue teams continue to search muddy debris for survivors.

The toddler was one of four children killed in the flash floods and mudslides that destroyed Santa Barbara County on Tuesday.

Five people were still missing, down from a previous estimate of 43 on Thursday, officials said.

The community of Montecito, about 10,000 people, was ordered to evacuate.

"At this moment, we are still looking for live victims," Santa Barbara fire Captain Gary Pitney said.

"The likelihood is increasing that we will be finding bodies, not survivors. You have to start accepting the reality of that," he added.

All of those killed, including an 89-year-old man who celebrated his birthday the day before, died of "multiple traumatic injuries due to flash flood with mudslides", according to the Santa Barbara County Coroner's Office.

Sheriff Bill Brown cautioned that the number of those missing could continue to fluctuate as some people may have been unreachable.

Bulldozers and military vehicles have been deployed to clear the upscale Southern California neighbourhood of Montecito of mud and wreckage while dogs look for trapped victims.

Officials said 64 homes have been destroyed while 446 other residences were damaged.

The Santa Barbara County Coroner's Office released a list on Thursday identifying all of the victims who have been recovered so far.

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