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Archive for Sunday, December 28, 2003

Two more bodies found in mudslide

December 28, 2003

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— Search and rescue teams Saturday found the bodies of two more people caught by a mudslide that smothered a mountain church camp in a canyon burned bare by fall wildfires in the San Bernardino Mountains.

Seven bodies have been recovered, and seven people remain missing, from a Christmas Day mudslide that ran through St. Sophia Camp. Another mudslide Thursday killed two people at another campground about five miles away.

It wasn't immediately known whether the bodies recovered Saturday, found near the Greek Orthodox camp's chapel, were those of children or adults. Four of the other five bodies were of children, and several children were among those still unaccounted for.

Officials called off the search Saturday night and will resume this morning.

"We'll continue searching," San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Beavers said. "It's very difficult for someone to survive in these conditions and in these temperatures overnight."

Rescue crews poked through acres of mud and debris and used a helicopter to fly over the Santa Ana River because pressure from the torrents of mud could have pushed victims miles downstream.

Beavers said more rain was expected tonight and urged people living near the mountains to be vigilant.

"We ask people don't wait, don't put your life in jeopardy," she said. "We don't want to have another situation like the one we have here now."

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