A flag, put up by volunteers helping search the area, stands in the ruins of a home left at the end of a deadly mudslide from the now-barren hillside seen about a mile behind, Tuesday, March 25, 2014, in Oso, Wash. At least 14 people were killed in the 1-square-mile slide that hit in a rural area about 55 miles northeast of Seattle on Saturday. Several people also were critically injured, and homes were destroyed. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
ARLINGTON, Wash. — Washington state officials say searchers have recovered two bodies and believe they have located another eight in the debris of a massive landslide.
Snohomish County District 21 Fire Chief Travis Hots announced the fatalities late today.
The grim discoveries put the official death toll at 16, with the possibility of 24 dead once the other bodies are confirmed.
Searchers had warned they were likely to find more bodies in the debris field, which covered a neighborhood of 49 structures. Authorities believe at least 25 were full-time residences.
They were working off a list of 176 people unaccounted for, though some names were believed to be duplicates.