National Guard to assist in mudslide search effort

Washington National Guard today mobilized teams of specialists to aid in the search for survivors and recovery of the bodies of victims of the massive Oso mudslide.

The 11-person Fatality Search and Recovery unit is expected to join Snohomish County authorities Tuesday in painstaking hunt for victims.

Also today, members of the National Guard Search and Extraction Team were arriving to provide relief to local search and rescue teams, who have labored around the clock since Saturday. There are about 50 people on the team.

Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, leader of the National Guard, offered the specialists shortly after the landslide and Snohomish County authorities accepted Monday.

“As soon as the disaster happened we offered our assistance,” said Karina Shagren, communications director for the Washington Military Department. “Our soldiers and airmen are ready to go at a moment’s notice. Our mission is to be there to serve communities when they need us.”

In addition, if Snohomish County asks, the National Guard can send two Blackhawk helicopters with crews for aerial searches, chaplains for grief counseling and an engineering company for use in the eventual cleanup of muck and debris.

“If they are needed, the Washington National Guard is fully prepared to provide those resources,” Shagren said.

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