Real Estate Agent Among 17 Dead After Mudslides

I'm heartbroken for our community of Montecito. The mud never got above their thighs and after about an hour of huddling in a hallway, he led his folks and dog outside where a passing firetruck took them to safety.

"Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres was another Montecito resident impacted by the storm".

Sheriff Bill Brown gave the larger number Thursday but cautioned that many or most of those people may simply have been unreachable to the family and friends who reported they couldn't find them.

Rescue crews search a demolished residence on East Valley Road in Montecito.

He likened the scenes in Montecito to the muddy trenches of World War One.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered for about 700 homes in sections of Los Angeles County that burned last month in the biggest wildfire on record in California.

Authorities also named David Cantin, 49; Peter Fleurat, 73; Josephine Gower, 69; John McManigal, 61; Alice Mitchell, 78; James Mitchell, 89; Mark Montgomery, 22; Marilyn Ramos, 27; Rebecca Riskin, 61; Roy Rohter, 84 and Richard Taylor, 67, as those killed.

She stood in mud as she said she was "devastated" by the damage to her neighbour's house.

Weinert's house was somehow spared but one of his neighbors, Riskin, was swept to her death.

On Tuesday, Thomas Aquinas College near Santa Paula shared the name of another victim, benefactor Roy Rohter, who founded the St. Augustine Academy in Ventura. Families were ripped apart, being swept away, with some victims surviving, while some did not. Rohter's wife, Theresa, also was swept away, but was rescued and was hospitalized in stable condition, the college said.

All of the dead were killed by "multiple traumatic injuries due to flash flood with mudslides", authorities said.

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"There are four juveniles on the list", Brown said.

The Coroner's Office has been working around the clock to identify victims and notify relatives, Brown said, an effort that was bolstered Wednesday by the arrival of personnel from the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office.

Boulders are strewn in front of an entrance to the Riven Rock neighborhood in Montecito.

Theirs are among the many stories of those who perished and those who managed with inexplicable good fortune to escape the slides in the wealthy enclave of Montecito that is home to a variety of people ranging from captains of industry to those who manicured their lawns.

Some 100 homes in the picturesque Santa Barbara area have been levelled to the ground on Tuesday, and at least 300 buildings have been damaged.

"There's been plenty of cases where they've found people a week after".

Residents lucky enough to be spared reported hearing rumblings just before the onslaught that sounded like an quake but were actually the sound of a deadly, roaring curtain of mud and debris descending upon them powerful enough to propel massive boulders the size of trucks along with it.

"I thought I was dead for a minute", she told them before an ambulance took her away. "That was the last I heard of him". "We were just surrounded by mud". Residents in Montecito woke to crashing noises and knee-deep muck, posting videos on social media of thrashed homes and cars in a thick, soupy water.

Handout / Reuters Debris floats on the 101 freeway in Montecito. Meanwhile, beaches were closed to swimming, after health officials said mud and runoff from heavy rains contained unknown amounts of sewage and contaminants.

"As search and rescue efforts continue, Direct Relief is coordinating its response with the Santa Barbara County Public Health and Emergency Services Departments, as well as the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster".

A family of five were also plucked from the debris of their home in a dramatic rescue.

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