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Family members ignore evacuation order to continue search for mudslide victims

Family members search for signs of a woman believed buried in Saturday's mudslide in Oso in this photo posted by her brother on Faceook. (Dayn Brunner photo via Facebook)

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Even after officials pulled rescue crews back from the deadly Oso mudslide because of the risk of more slides, family and friends of some of the missing refused to give up their search.

Dayn Brunner told KIRO Radio on Monday that he's been searching along Highway 530 since Saturday for his sister, who was believed to be driving along the road when the massive slide one mile long and 1,000 feet wide hit the area.

"There used to be 25 houses in this area and you just don't see anything," he said frantically via phone. "There are chunks of pavement that have been moved about 500 feet from where the road used to be and any kind of vehicle that you see that's in there - it's just mangled."

Brunner admits he doesn't expect to find his sister alive. But along with about one dozen other family members, he's not about to give up despite the risk of another slide that prompted officials to pull rescue crews from the west side of the slide area.

"We're persevering because that's what my sister would have done for me," he said. "We're sitting on what we think is about four or five houses. We've recovered two bodies out of there, none of them are my sister."

Brunner said he notified search and rescue crews about the bodies, but who said they would return to recover once geologists determined it was safe.

He described a scene of total devastation that reminded him of the aftermath of the Mt. St. Helens explosion, with mountains of debris 50-60 feet high. He knows it's dangerous but said it's something they have to do.

"We didn't want to stand by and sit and wait for word, we wanted to be down here looking and doing what we can to find her."

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About the Author


Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM. He covers everything from May Day riots in Seattle to the latest Boeing news.

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