Nightly News   |  March 30, 2014

Work to Find Missing Mudslide Victims Continues

A week after a mudslide devastated Oso, Wash., search crews still have yet to account for all the missing. 

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> holt: in washington state , eight days now since one of the worst mudslides in u.s. history , and the work of finding the missing and the remnants of their lives goes on tonight in treacherous conditions. meantime, the number of those thought to be missing has actually been scaled back now, on a day when the victims were honored. nbc´s miguel almaguer is there again for us tonight. miguel?

>> almaguer: lester, good evening. the number of missing has dropped from 90 to 30. the official death toll now at 18, though authorities say they have found another body. it is just yet to be identified. tonight, upstream from here, the rescue mission is under way as the heartache sets in. [ organ plays ] in a community where faith has been tested... [ congregants sing ]

>> woman: this week is hard to put into words.

>> almaguer: ...tonight there is comfort. no one here is alone. it seems most of oso has reached out to natasha huestis.

>> huestis: people have brought brand-new clothes.

>> almaguer: the 26-year-old lost her mother, christina, her daughter, sanoah, and everything she owned.

>> huestis: people see a mudslide, and they see all the aerial photographs, but they don´t see the people that lived in there.

>> almaguer: memories and pictures pulled from the mud are all natasha has left -- keepsakes like her baby´s bunny. but tonight she´s worried about her best friend, amanda skorjanc, and her son, baby duke.

>> huestis: our houses were about 70 feet apart, maybe.

>> almaguer: they are still in the hospital.

>> huestis: she can´t even sleep at night because she has so many memories of what just happened. how do you get that out of your mind?

>> almaguer: now, eight days after the slide, many of the survivors want answers. why didn´t everyone know this hillside was deemed unsafe?

>> montgomery: it was a known hazard. the timing of when something like that would fail in the future is obviously very difficult to establish. but the idea that that was actually a dangerous slope was known.

>> almaguer: washington´s governor, jay inslee .

>> inslee: we will get to the bottom of all those questions. it will take a very extensive geological review. but today, look, we got to focus on this rescue and recovery.

>> almaguer: with 620 people involved in the rescue, exhaustion has set in.

>> man: it takes you 10 minutes just to go probably 5 feet.

>> almaguer: search dogs ordered on a two- day break before they can return. in oso, everyone wants to help. and in this small town, tonight everyone is still hurting. with dozens still missing today, the governor insists this is still a rescue mission , not just a recovery. tomorrow, search teams will enter day 10.