(OSO, Wash.) — The Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office revised the death toll from last Saturday’s mudslide in Washington state Thursday night, putting the number of those killed in the disaster at 17.
But with search and rescue operations continuing, that number is expected to go up considerably.
“We understand there has been confusion over the reported number of fatalities,” Travis Hots, fire chief for Snohomish County Fire District 22, said in a statement Thursday. “This has been a challenging process for all of us. The sadness here is that we know this number will only increase.”
Half of the population of Oso, the town where the mudslide took place, is missing — around 90 people have not been heard from since March 22.
Among the confirmed dead are a 4-month-old girl who was found about 10 feet away from her grandmother’s body, and a 55-year-old hot water heater installer who was working at the time of the disaster.
Rescuers say they hope to find somebody alive but the likelihood of that is fading with every passing hour.
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Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
Thom Patterson, CNN