|A destroyed home is stranded atop mud and debris on Highway 530 near Oso on Sunday, March 23.|
|Groundwater saturation, tied to heavy rainfall in the area over the past month, was blamed for the landslide,
which authorities say measured at least 45 yards wide.
But they had no answers for her about her missing husband, Steven.
There was despair on their faces, she said.
Rescuers on Tuesday continued to battle mud and debris — with the consistency of quicksand in some places — in the search for survivors, but hopes dimmed as no one has been rescued since the slide on Saturday.
The death toll stood at 14 with 176 others missing or unaccounted for. Officials have stressed those unaccounted for are not necessarily all victims of the disaster. They believe many names are duplicated.
Steven Neal’s family holds out hope, despite discouraging signs.
Neal is a plumber who was on a service call in the area where the landslide hit.
“None of us feel like he’s gone,” Brenda Neal said.
Her daughter, Sara, agreed: “I think if anyone had a chance to getting through, it would be him.”
Monday’s effort yielded a grim result — six bodies.
“I’m very disappointed to tell you that we didn’t find any sign of any survivors, and we found no survivors today,” Snohomish County Fire District 21 Chief Travis Hots told reporters Monday night.
The landslide covered about a square mile and was caused by groundwater saturation tied to heavy rain in the area over the past month. It affected Oso, with a population of about 180, and Darrington, a town of about 1,350.
|The remains of a massive landslide are seen near Oso, Washington, on Monday, March 24. The landslide
on Saturday blocked the highway and the Stillaguamish River.
|A search and rescue team carries the body of a victim on March 24.|
|A helicopter flies over on March 24 surveying the damage from the landslide.|
|An intact house sits at the edge of the landslide on March 24.|
|Downed power lines and parts of a destroyed house can be seen in the debris blocking the road near Oso.|
|U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene tweeted out this photo of the devastation that a landslide caused in Snohomish County.|
President Barack Obama, in the Netherlands on Tuesday, asked “all Americans to send their thoughts and prayers to Washington state and the community of Oso.”
Obama said he had spoken with the state’s governor and signed an emergency declaration.
Early hopeful signs, like a 4-year-old boy who was rescued on the day of the landslide, have faded for some.
One survivor, Robin Youngblood, cared for the rescued boy immediately after he was pulled out.
“They brought him to us in the ambulance. I took all his clothes off because he was freezing,” she told CNN affiliate KCPQ.
She comforted him, but foreshadowed that this could be a life-altering event.
“I wrapped him up and held him and told him I was a grandma and couldn’t find the rest of his family,” she said.
More and more stories of those unaccounted for continue to emerge.
Nicole Webb Rivera is missing her parents, daughter and her daughter’s fiance.
The last communication Rivera had with them was a Facebook comment that her daughter posted Saturday morning.
When she was unable to reach them, she knew that her worst fear was realized. She believes her daughter and her fiance were at Rivera’s parents’ home in Darrington.
|This image, released by the Washington State Department of Transportation, shows the hillside that
gave way in the upper left. It also shows the blocked highway and river.
|Officials warned residents of possible flooding both upstream and downstream of the collapse.|
|The landslide cut off the small town of Darrington and prompted an evacuation notice
for fear of a potentially “catastrophic flood event,” authorities said.
|The first Washington State Patrol trooper arrives on the scene, according to the patrol’s Twitter feed.|
“This is catastrophic for our community and all of us who are waiting for word on our family members,” Rivera told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “It’s such beyond the scope of my four missing family members. It’s grief for our whole town.”
Some 49 structures were impacted or destroyed by the landslide, Snohomish County Emergency Management Director John Pennington told CNN.
Geologists say the area impacted by the slide is not unstable, but rescuers face great challenges.
“The best analogy, I think, is a microcosm of Mount St. Helens,” Pennington said. “This went down, it went hard, it went fast, and the debris is deep.”
Peering across the devastated landscape, Cory Kuntz just shakes his head.
“When you look at it, you just get in shock,” he told CNN affiliate KING. “You kind of go numb.”
Kuntz lost his aunt and his home in Oso.
Thanks to the efforts of friends and neighbors, his uncle’s life was spared, though he was nearly buried alive.
WATCH: Over 100 missing in Washington landslide.
WATCH: Death toll continues to rise.
WATCH: Families still hopeful.
“They heard him pounding on that roof. He had a little air pocket and a stick. He said he was poking up on it, banging on it,” Kuntz said. “My neighbors and my friends came and started digging him out and just couldn’t get to my aunt in time.”
The first reports of the landslide came in about 10:45 a.m. Saturday (1:45 p.m. ET), the sheriff’s office said.
Dave Norman, a Washington state geologist, said the landslide was about 4,400 feet wide with a wide debris field. In some places, the debris is 30 to 40 feet thick.
“This is one of the biggest landslides I have ever seen,” Norman said. – CNN.