Washington slide death toll rises to 28; missing tally drops to 20

SEATTLE — As the death toll in the northwestern Washington landslide rose to 28, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Tuesday that he has asked President Obama for additional federal disaster assistance to repair damaged infrastructure in rural Snohomish County.

Authorities have identified 22 of the slide’s victims, officials said during an early evening briefing in Arlington, and the tally of those missing has dropped to 20, from 22 earlier in the day.

The dead identified so far range in age from 4 months to 71 years. All lived in Snohomish County and all died of blunt-force injuries, according to a statement from the county medical examiner’s office. All but one died at the landslide site.

“The King County Medical Examiner’s Office has positively identified the victim of the Oso mudslide who died at Harborview Medical Center on March 22 ... as Adam Farnes, age 23,” the medical examiner's office said. “Cause of death is blunt-force injuries of the head and torso; manner of death is accident."

The rescue and recovery effort, in its 11th day, was carried out by more than a score of volunteers from the normally peaceful rural area and 250 tactical personnel. Good weather helped, but as much as three inches of rain is expected later in the week.

Inslee’s office said the March 22 landslide, which left a square-mile mound of death and destruction, caused an estimated $32.1-million in damage.

The request for federal assistance was Inslee’s third since the disaster smashed homes, closed State Route 530 and all but cut off the tiny logging town of Darrington. In a letter sent to Obama late Monday, Inslee asked for federal help in clearing debris and providing measures such as barricades, sandbags and personnel to protect public safety.

“The landslide and upstream flooding it caused brought down death and destruction on these tight-knit communities in Snohomish County,” Inslee said in a written statement. “These are our friends and neighbors, and we’re racing to help repair their roads and other public facilities in the Stillaguamish Valley. If the president acts on this request, we can help do the job even faster.”


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