Devastating mudslides in Calif. celebrity area leave 8 dead, dozens injured (videos, photos)

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Pouring rain and mudslides have lead to the deaths of at least eight people in Southern California on Tuesday.

Along with the deaths, 25 injuries were reported related to mudslides that swept homes from their foundations and blocked roads. Helicopter  evacuations were also initiated, officials said, during rescue operations in Montecito, 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

According to Santa Barbara County Fire Department Captain Dave Zaniboni, the bodies were found amid mud and debris during those rescue operations. All eight deaths were reported to have occurred in Montecito. Officials did not offer additional details related to the deaths.

From the Los Angeles Times:

The deluge that washed over Santa Barbara County early Tuesday was the worst-case scenario for a community that was ravaged by the Thomas fire only a few weeks earlier. In just a matter of minutes, pounding rain overwhelmed the south-facing slopes above Montecito and flooded a creek that leads to the ocean, sending mud and massive boulders rolling into residential neighborhoods, according to Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason.

“It’s going to be worse than anyone imagined for our area,” he said. “Following our fire, this is the worst-case scenario.”

Eight people were killed and at least twenty-five were injured after a heavy band of rain struck around 2:30 a.m. causing “waist-high” mudflows, according to Kelly Hoover, a spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. 

The roughly 9,000 residents in the area include numerous celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey, Rob Lowe and Ellen DeGeneres.

One positive story came from the rescue of a 14-year-old girl, who had been trapped for hours inside of a destroyed home. She was discovered with the help of search and rescue dogs, who reportedly heard a scream, according to The Daily Mail, who reports that “rescue crews worked for six hours using the jaws of life and other tools to free her from the mangled wreckage.”

Officials gave no estimate as to how many people may still be trapped in the debris, nor did they indicate how many homes were damaged.

The search for survivors was ongoing as of Tuesday afternoon, with many areas remaining inaccessible to rescue crews.

The following video describes why the mudslides occurred. The remaining videos and pictures detail the devastating after-effects of the dangerous mudslides.

 

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