News Washington

108 people missing after Oso mudslide


Darrington, WA at sunset on Saturday, March 23rd.
Darrington, WA at sunset on Saturday, March 23rd.

While this morning’s announcement that 108 people are missing after the Oso mudslide will surprise many people, that’s likely not the case for some locals who live in that area.

From what I’ve been told, many have known the numbers are higher.

In my visit to Darrington Sunday evening, a local told me that there was some mounting frustration in town regarding the official numbers of missing and deceased that were being reported in the news.

There are stories going around (which I’ve not confirmed) that some neighbors who live here have even helped locate bodies in the mud (see 2:44 in video Live Stream #8, below).

The purpose of this post is simply aimed at providing additional insight, understanding and context. You can decide whether it does any of that.

This commentary is absolutely not meant to instigate any finger pointing.

During my 20 years spent covering stories as a television news reporter, I came to understand that it’s quite common for people directly impacted by a tragedy to become frustrated as they are so often wanting much more information related to the event.

We now live in an ever-evolving time, though, related to the technology and social media at our fingertips, and they’re impacts on major news events.

Increasingly, every day folks on the front lines are positioned with firm, current, relevant information.  And sharing that information with the world only takes a click or two.

That’s the reality that presses-up against still oft-used traditional methods exercised by governments and mainstream media for gathering and disseminating information.

I’ve no doubt everyone’s goal is to provide the most solid, responsible information.

The inherent challenges of doing so with a major catastrophe—surrounded by the prevalence of smartphones and social media—would seem to make that goal challenging in ways that we’ve yet come to fully understand.


News Washington

Texas woman’s parents, daughter, future son-in-law all missing in WA mudslide


[hmp_player playlist=’Oso_Mudslide’]

nichole-rivera-1Nichole Rivera of Houston, Texas has many fond memories of growing-up in the high-country of Washington state’s northern Snohomish County.

Tonight she plans on boarding a plane to Seattle, fearing the worst has happened to her parents, daughter and her daughter’s fiancé.

Rivera spoke with this morning in a phone interview.  That interview appears here and is largely unedited.

Rivera said that her parents home was located at 31104 Steelhead Drive.

Her parents are Thom and Marlese Satterlee.

Rivera’s daughter is Delaney Webb.  She shared that Webb is engaged to Alan Bejvl.

“My dad was a really great man,” Rivera said.

“My mom is a really amazing artist and very funny.”

Rivera shares many more details about her missing loved ones in the audio interview appearing in this story.

News video Washington

(PHOTOS & VIDEOS) Oso mudslide: “Everything went dark”

UNCUT: Interview with mudslide witness Paulo Falcao / HD (1080p)

NEW PHOTOS OF MUDSLIDE has obtained new pictures of the devastation caused by Saturday’s catastrophic mudslide near Oso.

(Oso, WA) A natural disaster came crashing down today on this usually quiet area that’s partially surrounded by fast-rising hillsides and snow capped peaks .

A vast mudslide blasted through homes, crossed SR 530 and has blocked the north fork of the Stillaguamish River.

At least three people have died.

The concerns now include the threat of flooding.

As The Herald (Everett) reports this evening:

A large wall of water is expected to rip downstream along the Stillaguamish River between Oso and Stanwood on Saturday evening or early Sunday.

Snohomish County emergency officials tonight are strongly encouraging anyone who lives in the flood plain to move to higher ground until further notice. Crews hope to assess the situation again in the daylight. Plans are in place to possibly stop traffic on the I-5 bridge over the Stilly in Arlington if needed.

There is the “potential for a catastrophic flood event,” county spokeswoman Rebecca Hover said. interviewed local residents while reporting live near the scene.

Paulo Falcao said he was driving towards Darrington to pick up his children when everything went dark immediately in front of his Jeep and the two vehicles just in front of him.

Falcao said the slide raced across the  road, and that the moving debris included a house.

Once out of his vehicle, Flaco heard cries for help from a woman and a small child. He estimates the child was one year-old or younger.

Falcao said the woman and child eventually made it out.


The following photos were taken by Stephen Horner


Live Stream #1


Live Stream #2 (includes interviews with local residents Tim Alskog and Garrett Simmons)


Live Stream #3 (includes interview with Paulo Flaco. I mistakenly refer to him as “Pablo” Flaco here as I’d misheard his name. My apologies.)


Live Stream #4:
For the record: We did *not* know that a mandatory evacuation had just been issued prior to visiting the river on the way home. Still, I’m fully aware that we assumed some risk in visiting the river. Never do something like this in these circumstances. I do hope that this footage proves helpful in understanding the mudslide’s effect on the north fork of the Stillaguamish River.


Live Stream #5:
In this video, you may wish to skip ahead of the simple walking (and a lot of sniffing from my increasingly runny nose…sorry about that) to 2:49.  At 2:49, narration begins as the camera shows a view of the river in both directions.


Live Stream #6
This is the final report in this series for March 22nd.