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Washington landslide one of nation's deadliest

Sunday - 3/30/2014, 11:32am  ET

A searcher walks amidst a massive pile of debris at the scene of a deadly mudslide, Thursday, March 27, 2014, in Oso, Wash. The death toll is expected to rise considerably within the next two days as the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office catches up with the recovery effort, Snohomish County District 21 Fire Chief Travis Hots said Thursday. (AP Photo/The Herald, Mark Mulligan, Pool)

The Associated Press

The landslide that destroyed a rural community in Washington state was one of the deadliest in U.S. history.

As of Friday, the official death toll from Saturday's slide in Oso stood at 17, though additional bodies have been discovered but not yet counted. Scores of people remained missing, and authorities expected to update the numbers Friday evening.

Some of the country's other deadliest landslides:

-- Mar. 12, 1928: Five hundred people lost their lives when a dam in San Francisquito Canyon, Calif., collapsed. An abutment of the St. Francis Dam gave way when the ground beneath it became saturated with water from the reservoir. The abutment was built on the site of a previous landslide.

-- Aug. 19-20, 1969: Landslides and flooding in the wake of Hurricane Camille took the lives of 150 people in Nelson County, Va. The hurricane dumped up to 27 inches of rain in the area. Most of the deaths were the result of blunt-force injuries from trees, rocks and other debris, according to the U.S. Geological Service.

-- Oct. 7, 1985: The hillside shantytown of Mameyes in Puerto Rico was buried under tons of mud loosened by a 30-hour deluge from tropical storm Isabel. The mudslide claimed 129 lives.

-- Jan. 4-6, 1982: At least 30 people were killed in devastating mudslides in the San Francisco area. Most of the deaths occurred in Santa Cruz county, which President Ronald Reagan declared a disaster area along with Marin, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Sonoma counties.

-- Aug. 17, 1959: An earthquake rocked an area west of Yellowstone National Park resulting in 26 deaths. Fifty million tons of mountain slid into Madison Canyon near Hebgen Dam.

-- Jan. 10, 2005: Ten people died when thousands of tons of mud crashed into the beachside community of La Conchita, Calif. A similar slide in 1995 destroyed nine homes, but no one was hurt.


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