Search Continues For Those Trapped In California Mudslides

The 2017 Thomas fire that burned in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties left behind vast swaths of charred landscape like this area in Upper Rincon Canyon

Although three people were rescued on Wednesday, two more bodies were also recovered - taking the death toll from the disaster to 17 people.

Rescue crews using helicopters and dogs searched the hills around wealthy Santa Barbara, California, on Wednesday for people trapped or killed by rain-driven mudslides that left at least 15 people dead in the coastal community.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said emergency personnel notified residents in the evacuation zone on Monday evening. Military vehicles arrive to assist evacuation operations at an area damaged by mudslides in Montecito, Calif. on January 9.

This storm dumped more than five inches of rainfall north of Ojai in the Thomas Fire burn area, the National Weather Service in Los Angeles reported. "It was literally a carpet of mud and debris, everywhere", said Brown. The closed sections of freeway are not expected to reopen until January 14.

Numerous people are also missing in the Montecito area, and hospitals have received multiple people with injuries, some of them critical.

Miyasato asked that residents remain in their homes and not venture out into the areas where flooding and damage are the worst.

Rescue crews worked to clear debris from roads across greater Los Angeles, including a key stretch of USA 101 that was brought to a standstill along the border of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

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The search for the missing - whose numbers are uncertain - was to continue through the night and then intensify after daylight yesterday, authorities said.

Coast Guard, worked to airlift them out, officials said.

In one story from the mudslides, a man rescued a baby from the debris, saving her life by pulling her out of the mud, according to Time.

He was on his way to check on his neighbours when he heard the baby crying.

One by one, firefighters rescued victims from the muck and debris.

"We dug down and found a little baby", an emotional Johnson told KSBY News.

"We've got multiple reports of rescuers falling through manholes that were covered with mud, swimming pools that were covered up with mud", said Anthony Buzzerio, a Los Angeles County fire battalion chief. "There will be more", Zaniboni said, adding that some of those brought to safety were buried in mud.

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