National Guard Searcher Describes ‘Sifting’ Through Crushed House
By Austin Jenkins
The Washington National Guard has now deployed two Blackhawk helicopters to the Oso landslide. On the ground, specially-trained search teams Wednesday looked for victims in the mud and debris. Correspondent Austin Jenkins spoke to one of the National Guard searchers.
Master Sgt. Chris Martin called me on a cell phone after spending the better part of his day searching a single house caught in the path of the landslide.
Chris Martin: “It’s pretty much flattened and then encased in mud and has trees inter-strewn amongst it.”
Martin says some 50 National Guard, fire department and volunteer searchers swarmed this one house often on their hands and knees using hand tools.
Chris Martin: “It’s very muddy and soupy. If you can kind of imagine concrete before it sets is what it’s like.”
Martin says his team did not find a victim on this initial search. But they’ll be back out there again. Asked if this is a mission impossible he says no. Martin previously deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan with the National Guard. He says it feels good to help fellow Washingtonians for a change.
Photo: Washington National Guard searchers are assisting in the effort to locate victims of the Oso landslide in Snohomish County. Photo Credit: Washington National Guard