US & Canada

US mudslide dead rises to 30 amid struggle to identify remains

Benton County assistant fire chief Jack Coats surveys the landscape at the scene of a deadly mudslide as an excavator works below to clear a drainage channel, in Oso, Washington 2 April 2014
An excavator clears a drainage channel as workers try to recover remains at the scene of a deadly mudslide

The number of dead in a mudslide that hit the north-western US state of Washington has risen to 30, as recovery workers struggle to identify remains.

A medical examiner said Gloria Halstead, 67, and 13-year-old Jovon Mangual had been confirmed dead.

Thirteen people remain missing after the 22 March mudslide crushed the community of Oso, about 55 miles (90 kilometers) north of Seattle.

Identifying victims has proved to be a challenge as recovery efforts continue.

One set of remains does not fit with any description on the missing persons list, officials say.

Medical examiners know it is a male, but they cannot identify his age range and the only clue to his identity is gold teeth.

The landslide destroyed about 30 houses, temporarily damming a river and covering a major road.

Little sign of the community in Stillaguamish Valley remains in the disaster zone, which is strewn with piles of downed trees and the twisted remains of vehicles.

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