How The Mountainside Collapsed On Oso

Apr 2, 2014

It's becoming a regular occurrence, increasing the official tally of the dead in the aftermath of the massive landslide near the community of Oso, Wash.

In the latest briefing from the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's office the number rose to 29. There is new information about how the mountainside collapsed that comes from investigators on the scene.

Lieutenant Richard Burke, a firefighter and incident spokesman, says the slide did not start like a traditional avalanche, which starts at the top and slides down the mountain.

Instead the Oso mudslide blew out at the bottom, and because of the weight on top of that, it blew across the Stillaguamish River, bringing water and debris with it that covered the community.

"Going through the list of identified victims, there is one unifying theme, all were killed by blunt-force trauma when the massive hillside gave way," says Burke.

Several inches of rain are expected to fall in the coming days, hampering recovery efforts.

Copyright 2014 KUOW.