Calls from first responders capture chaos at Oso mudslide

Following are excerpts from radio communications among emergency responders in the first hour and 15 minutes after the massive slide occurred along the North Fork Stillaguamish River at 10:45 a.m. Saturday.

“State Patrol advised, the road is flooding, the lines are down, a barn-over-roof (?) has washed into the roadway and people are driving around it.”

“We’re getting a couple of addresses, so we’re not sure if this mudslide is one mudslide hitting both of these addresses or if it’s individuals.”

“We’ve got Highway 530 100 percent blocked.”

“We have 530 totally blocked with a slide, there is a structure out in the middle of 530, we’ll be investigating.” Response: “Be advised, in the slide there was a report of someone yelling for help.”

“We’re hearing cries from somewhere over there, are you guys hearing them from your end?” Response: “We’re investigating at this time, this is a major slide here, there are houses out into the main road of 530, we’re investigating still.” Response: “I just want to let you know we’re hearing cries, possibly a child, from this side.”

“The 530 highway is totally blocked as far as I can see, which is approximately a half mile long, with debris and trees. We have actually a house out onto 530. We’re going to need additional resources and a helicopter from 530.”

“I believe we’re going to need additional helicopters to get in here, we can’t get to these residences.”

“I’m taking one firefighter with me, we’re going to try to walk in and locate, we’ve got a possible victim out in the slide.”

“I want you to go to the end of Whitman Road and see if you can see the people who are trapped on the other side of the water and try to give me a report from that side.”

“I don’t need any additional resources over here, I need to confirm that eastside command (Darrington side) has the victims that are screaming out there, or has eyes on them.”

“One thing that we need to possibly do is have SNOPAC do a reverse 911 (call) in the area to advise people to evacuate upstream from the slide and do a reverse 911 for an evacuation of the area, and possibly downstream in case this thing lets loose and floods downstream.”

“We have two victims we’re unable to get to, neither one of those appear to be injured, we have one patient that we cannot get to right now, yelling for help, seriously injured, we’re going to need more manpower.”

“I have eyes on three patients. I need swift-water gear out here, if I get swift-water gear, I have a partner, I can get to a patient who’s seriously injured, he basically has one arm amputated at the present time.”

“We can see across by Steelhead Drive, and the entire road has been washed out, there’s multiple, multiple houses down there that are washed out, from our vision.”

“My vantage point up here into Whitman, the river is completely blocked, we have homeowners trapped in a house and I don’t know how long this blockage is going to hold before it lets go onto Whitman.”

“We’re hearing more victims out here, I’ve got a team of civilians and firefighters headed in to find them.”

“You need to start working on a bridge system, we’ve got a bunch of tin we’ve been laying out to get some sort of path to get these victims back.”

“Carrying out one victim, a 6-month-old baby, red (critical).”

“We need to keep the westbound lanes (of Highway 530) completely open so we have a lane to move people out of here. All parking will occur in the eastbound lanes.”

“As far as we can tell we have one more victim out here, she’s currently trapped and we’re trying to extricate. She has a possible broken leg and a laceration to her head.”

“We’re currently conducting a rescue, two patients, one’s unconscious, could use extra bodies if available.” Response: “I have no personnel onsite right now.”

“We’ve extricated the victim from the pile and we’re going to remove her, from out from under these trees.”

“We can see the bank starting to give way again, right now.”

Response: “We’ve got a report the bank is still sliding at this time, look out and be aware of bank movement.”

“I’m concerned about additional slides happening. As soon as SNOHAWK gets their patients dropped off, they need to do aerial recon and make sure we’re all in a safe place here. If we’re not in a safe place we’re going to need to pull the plug here.”

“The river’s completely dry.”

“All the homes on Steelhead Drive are gone.”

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