Mudslide Volunteers: ‘We’re Going In Whether You Let Us Or Not’

A worker uses a chain saw at the scene of the deadly mudslide near Oso, Wash. Rick Wilking/AP

A worker uses a chain saw at the scene of the deadly mudslide near Oso, Wash. Rick Wilking/AP

When emergency personnel got to the scene of Saturday’s mudslide near Oso, Wash., they kept people away. Much of a mountain had torn off, roared across the Stillaguamish River, and destroyed about 50 homes and properties.

The mixture of mud and destroyed structures was, as NPR’s Martin Kaste has said, like quicksand mixed with timber and was too dangerous to be in.

But as our colleagues at Seattle’s KUOW report, many volunteers wouldn’t take no for an answer for very long.

Bob DeYoung, a logger and former police officer, “will not directly admit he was out there before it was officially sanctioned,” the NPR member station reports. “But he said he had to go because he had the equipment and the know-how, and he couldn’t just sit there and watch TV.”

“The local community is pretty tough,” DeYoung tells KUOW. “And they stick together and we said, ‘Well, we’re going in whether you let us or not.’ That was the deal. So once they saw that then they started taking volunteers.”

KUOW’s is one of several new reports about the anguish of those who have lost loved ones and neighbors, and the efforts underway to find those who were in the mudslide’s path. As we’ve reported, as of Thursday morning 16 bodies had been recovered, nine other bodies had been located but not yet recovered, and 90 names were on a list of those still missing.

As The Associated Press writes, officials cautioned again on Thursday that they expect the death toll will go up considerably in coming days as the search efforts continue.

Related developments and headlines:

— “Mudslide Recovery Brings Tears To Searchers.” (AP)

— “It’s ‘somber out there’: Tough, rainy day ahead for searchers.” (The Seattle Times)

— “If we find one more alive, to me that’s worth it,” says local fire chief. (KING5-TV)

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit
Read original article – Published March 27, 2014 1:40 PM
Mudslide Volunteers: ‘We’re Going In Whether You Let Us Or Not’

Recent headlines

  • Arctic Chinook exercise concludes

    Coast Guard wraps up Arctic exercises

    The series of simulated drills was known as the Arctic Chinook exercise and wrapped Thursday morning in Kotzebue, according to a Coast Guard press release.
  • Bacteria that causes botulism.

    Science and cooking collide to fight botulism

    Scientists are trying to learn how to prevent botulism in seal oil, a main ingredient in many traditional Alaska Native foods.
  • Earthquake Simulator

    Earthquake simulator will shake up Juneau

    Alaska's earthquake simulator will visit Wednesday, Aug. 31, to Thursday, Sept. 1, in downtown Juneau giving residents some emergency preparedness practice at an event that promises to shake, rattle and roll.
  • Dan DeBartolo is one of four candidates running for the Juneau School Board. (Courtesy of Dan DeBartolo)

    School board candidate juggles race and Facebook

    The creator of the Facebook page the Juneau Community Collective is running for public office and that created a problem. He had to figure out how to continue moderating political comments on the page without falling into a conflict of interest.


Playing Now: