Death toll from California mudslides rises to 17
The death toll from devastating mudslides in affluent communities along a stretch of Southern California coastline rose to 17 on January 10, after two more bodies were recovered, the local sheriff said. While the number of people missing also climbed to 17.
The two additional fatalities were discovered as some 500 rescuers using search dogs, helicopters and thermal-imaging equipment dug through waist-deep mud for survivors of the mudslides, which were triggered by a heavy downpour early on Tuesday.
Three more people were rescued from the path of debris on Wednesday. None of the dead have been publicly identified.
"We realize that this is going to be a long and difficult journey for all of us and our community," Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told reporters at a late afternoon news conference.
Debris in Montecito, California on January 10, 2018. /VCG Photo

Debris in Montecito, California on January 10, 2018. /VCG Photo

The walls of mud destroyed 100 single-family homes, damaged hundreds of other buildings and injured 28 people, said Amber Anderson, a spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.
A major north-south highway along the coast, US Route 101, was closed in both directions and not expected to reopen until next week.
Among the damaged properties were homes of celebrities, including television personality Oprah Winfrey and talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres, who both live in the upscale hillside community of Montecito.
Verdant hillsides had been largely denuded by last month's historic wildfires, making them vulnerable to the massive mud and debris slides that sent boulders crashing into homes, turned highways into rivers and destroyed cars.
Source(s): Reuters