Mudslide Missing Drops To 22; 24 Confirmed Dead

An American flag hangs from the only cedar post left standing at the scene of a deadly mudslide, Monday, March 31, 2014, in Oso, Wash. (AP Photo/The Herald, Sofia Jaramillo, Pool)

An American flag hangs from the only cedar post left standing at the scene of a deadly mudslide, Monday, March 31, 2014, in Oso, Wash. (AP Photo/The Herald, Sofia Jaramillo, Pool)

DARRINGTON, Wash. (AP) -- Authorities in Washington state say they believe 22 people are still missing in the deadly Washington state mudslide that has killed at least 24 people.

That's down from the 30 people they previously considered missing.

The Snohomish County medical examiner's office said Monday that it has positively identified 18 of the 24 victims in the official death toll.

Snohomish County Executive Director Gary Haakenson says the remains of three additional victims were found Monday, but they have not yet been included in the medical examiner's official numbers.

The slide struck a rural area northeast of Seattle on March 22.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Estimated financial losses from the deadly Washington mudslide that has killed at least 24 people have reached $10 million, Gov. Jay Inslee said Monday in a letter asking the federal government for a major disaster declaration.

In seeking additional federal help following one of the deadliest landslides in U.S. history, Inslee said about 30 families need assistance with housing, along with personal and household goods. The estimated losses include nearly $7 million in structures and more than $3 million in their contents, Inslee's letter said.

The Snohomish County medical examiner's office said Monday afternoon that it has received a total of 24 victims, and 17 of those have been positively identified. Previously, the official death toll was 21, with 15 victims identified.

Authorities have said more than two dozen people remain missing following the March 22 slide that destroyed a rural mountainside community northeast of Seattle.

Inslee is also seeking federal help with funeral expenses for up to 48 people, and mental health care programs for survivors, volunteers, community members and first responders.

Monday's request asks for access to disaster housing, disaster grants, disaster-related unemployment insurance, and crisis counseling programs for those in Snohomish County and for the Stillaguamish, Sauk-Suiattle and Tulalip Indian tribes.

Steve Harris, a division supervisor for the search effort, said Monday that search teams have been learning more about the force of the slide, helping them better locate victims in a debris field that is 70 feet deep in places.

"There's a tremendous amount of force and energy behind this," Harris said of the slide.

Harris said search dogs are the primary tool for finding victims, and searchers are finding human remains four to six times per day. Sometimes crews only find partial remains, which makes the identification process harder.

Meanwhile, members of the Seattle Seahawks football team and Seattle Sounders soccer team were scheduled to visit with community members Monday evening.

BY MANUEL VALDES AND LISA BAUMANN - Mar 31, 9:31 PM EDT

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Baumann reported from Seattle.

 
 

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