Death toll rises to 17 in Montecito; 100 homes destroyed by mudslides

The death toll from massive debris flows that buried homes and cars under a torrent of mud and boulders rose to 17 in Montecito, where local personnel and the U.S. Coast Guard continued rescue operations Wednesday afternoon.

About 300 people who were stuck in their homes in Montecito’s Romero Canyon neighborhood throughout the debris field were rescued Tuesday night. Authorities had said late Tuesday that residents were still stuck and that first responders planned to launch helicopter rescues at daybreak.

The mudslides began around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, when intense rains dislodged boulders and caused heavy mudflow along hillsides that were scarred by the sprawling Thomas fire late last year. A number of homes were ripped from their foundations, with some pulled more than half a mile by water and mud before they broke apart.

“It looked like a World War I battlefield,” Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said Tuesday.

Read the rest of the article on The Los Angeles Times


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