A glimmer of hope came for exhausted rescuers working in the deadly Washington mudslide that killed at least 25 people, when they found a dog in the rubble almost a week after the mountainside came crashing down near the town of Oso this past Saturday.
The Kuntz family thought they had lost their beloved cat and chocolate brown Labrador, after they left both pets at home, however, when they returned to see what the devastation the mudslide had caused to their Washington community, they heard whimpers Quinton Kuntz told reporters:
"I just broke down crying, really happy that my dog was all right. I'm just shocked how well he did against my whole house falling on him."
The dog is one of the lucky ones in the disaster that has hit this small rural community hard, as rescuers work around the clock to find the 90 missing people -- a number that is expected to rise sharply soon.
However, it was a moment of hope and in the video of the dog rescue -- posted to Youtube -- those working tirelessly hoping to find any survivors cheer as Buddy, the Lab, is carried from under the rubble with some cuts and bruises and covered in dust from the debris.
The coroner has the grim task of identifying the bodies of those killed in their homes when a hillside just could not keep up with anymore rain and thus far only 16 victims in the Washington mudslide have been officially counted as dead, but nine more bodies were recovered from the rubble.
"In the next 24 to 48 hours, as the medical examiner's office catches up with the difficult work that they have to do, you're going to see these numbers increase substantially," local fire district chief Travis Hots said.
Authorities estimate about 180 people lived in the path of the deadly mudslide in the small Washington town, but the number of those missing has gone down significantly from the numbers originally reported by Snohomish County officials.
Officials say that it is unlikely they will find any more survivors and some of the victims of the mudslide may never be found.
Even with the less than optimistic prognosis rescuers in Washington are not giving up and are carefully sifting through the mudslide area.
"We're not changing the pace of this. And we're going to exhaust all options to try to find somebody alive," he said. "If we find just one more person that's alive, to me, that's worth it."
The weather on Thursday was not cooperating and more rain was falling, "so it's going to be a very difficult day," Hosts said of the rescue efforts to find more victims of the Washington mudslide.
[Image via Komonews.com]