The death toll is rising as mudslides continue to ravage southern California.
Eighteen people have died as a result of the disaster in the wealthy enclave of Montecito, a community about 90 miles up the coast from Los Angeles.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office says finding anyone alive in the muck at this point would be a “miracle,” even as rescue workers continue searching for survivors this weekend. The eighteenth victim, an 87-year-old man, was found dead in his home on Friday, the Associated Press reported.
Rescue workers are using search and rescue dogs to help wade through the mud and rocks — which is sometimes thigh-deep or higher — to search homes and cars. The damage from torrential rains was made worse by recent wildfires in the area that charred the earth and scrubbed the land of vegetation, making the ground slicker and the slides more dramatic.
Take a look at what rescue crews are dealing with as they survey the deadly damage:
Cal Fire search and rescue crews used their hands to get free as they trudged through the mud, looking for survivors.
Most people who have evacuated are being told to stay away from their homes for at least two weeks, the Associated Press reported.
Crews are using search-and-rescue dogs to hunt for victims.
But time is running out, as authorities plead for the public’s help locating seven people who are still missing.