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Death toll rises to 17 in California mudslides

Society 11.01.2018 | 09:16

WASHINGTON, 11 January (BelTA - Anadolu Agency) - At least 17 people died following a storm that sent massive mudflows shooting through a southern California city, authorities said Wednesday.

Additional details on the deaths were not immediately available, but officials said another 17 people were reported missing.

Rescue operations are ongoing as first responders continue to brave severe conditions including dense mud, downed trees and power lines in sprawling debris fields.

Over 500 search and rescue personnel were deployed to the area, as well as 10 search dogs who play a vital role in the mud-impacted areas. In all, three people were successfully rescued Wednesday.

The mudslides began Tuesday afternoon, totally destroying a number of homes as they tore downhill in the affluent enclave of Montecito.

The heavily-trafficked 101 freeway remained closed around the area Wednesday, and the California Highway Patrol said it would remain so until mid-day on Monday Jan. 15.

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