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Mudslide Survivor Thanks Her Rescuer With Big Hug

Robin Youngblood was rescued by a Snohomish County helicopter.

On Saturday morning, when a 600-foot swath of mountain slid down on Oso, Wash., two women managed to climb out of the mire onto the roof of their house and wave as a rescue helicopter arrived on the scene.

The helicopter pilot, Randy Fay, said the women were so completely covered in mud that he could just see their eyes staring out at him.

One of those women was Robin Youngblood, who on Wednesday listened as Fay described in a news conference the air rescues on Saturday.

Fay said the mud-caked survivors looked like "walking shock" and choked up when he told of finding a 4-year-old boy.

Fay told of plucking the two women from the roof and said Youngblood had asked him to save a Native American picture. He did, and passed it to her in the helicopter.

After the news briefing, when the cameras left, Youngblood, fighting off tears, walked up to Fay and gave him a big hug.

A brief reunion began.

The two women and the boy stayed together during the rescue, Youngblood said.

"He needed a grandmother, and I'm a grandmother, so I held him," she said.

Fay asked how things were going since the rescue.

"The insurance company isn't sure if they're going to pay, but they are at least paying for the hotel," Youngblood said.

The other woman rescued, a Dutch citizen, is now with friends and is trying to get a new passport, Youngblood said.

"The Dutch console drove up from Portland to give her $300 of his own money, and to start the work for his passport," she said.

The exchanged phone numbers to stay in touch.

— Jeff Black