National Guard Searcher Describes 'Sifting' Through Crushed House

Mar 26, 2014

The Washington National Guard has now deployed two Blackhawk helicopters to the Oso landslide. On the ground, specially-trained search teams Wednesday looked for victims in the mud and debris. Correspondent Austin Jenkins spoke to one of the National Guard searchers.

Washington National Guard searchers are assisting in the effort to locate victims of the Oso landslide in Snohomish County.
Credit Washington National Guard

Master Sgt. Chris Martin called me on a cell phone after spending the better part of his day searching a single house caught in the path of the landslide.

“It’s pretty much flattened and then encased in mud and has trees inter-strewn amongst it," says Martin.

Martin says some 50 National Guard, fire department and volunteer searchers swarmed this one house often on their hands and knees using hand tools.

“It’s very muddy and soupy. If you can kind of imagine concrete before it sets is what it’s like," says Martin.

Martin says his team did not find a victim on this initial search. But they’ll be back out there again. Asked if this is a mission impossible he says no. Martin previously deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan with the National Guard. He says it feels good to help fellow Washingtonians for a change.

Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network.