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Deadly Mudslide

Number of Missing in Mudslide Drops Sharply as Death Toll Rises

The official number of dead in the Washington state mudslide rose to 18 on Saturday, according to the Snohomish County Medical Examiner.

But some relatively good news did come out of the press conference: The number of people missing or unaccounted for has dropped drastically from 90 to 30, officials said.

That number had previously been as high as 176, and had many worried that the death toll could be that high — although officials have repeatedly stressed that there were many duplicate names on the list.

The latest victim added to the death toll was not identified.

The massive landslide struck the small community of Oso north of Seattle on March 22, crushing cars, twisting houses and ruining lives.

All work on the debris field halted briefly Saturday for a moment of silence to honor those lost.

Gov. Jay Inslee had asked people across Washington to pause at 10:37 a.m., the time the huge slide struck on March 22, destroying a neighborhood in the community of Oso north of Seattle.

"People all over stopped work — all searchers — in honor of that moment, so people we are searching for know we are serious," Snohomish County Fire District 1 battalion chief Steve Mason said.

An American flag had been run up a tree and then down to half-staff at the debris site, he said. Dan Rankin, mayor of the nearby logging town of Darrington, said the community had been "changed forevermore." "It's going to take a long time to heal, and the likelihood is we will probably never be whole," he said.

In a release Saturday evening, officials also announced that Snohomish County has created a new Facebook page to help coordinate and organize community slide-relief efforts, at Facebook.com/530SlideRelief.

Community members and organizations who are organizing fundraisers or accepting donations are being encouraged to post their events on this page, officials said.

Heavy rain hampered the efforts of search crews working in the debris field Saturday, officials said, but the weather is expected to improve Monday and Tuesday.

— Hasani Gittens, with The Associated Press