OSO, Wash. (KIRO-TV) — The man who is heading up search efforts for mudslide victims in the Oso area of Snohomish County had some grim news Wednesday.
Larry Nickey said, "This is still a rescue mission, but the probability of finding anyone alive is very slim."
Nickey has been meeting every evening with families of the missing.
He said, "We have prepared the victims' families that we may not find everybody. They understand, but we will continue our best to help them be reunited."
Nickey is normally an Olympic National Park employee who often leads a special interagency team of state and federal workers fighting forest fires. Since Sunday, he's been calling the shots at the Oso mudslide disaster.
Nickey said a smaller management team did a good job of organizing the initial search for mudslide victims. Now volunteers are gradually being replaced by more skilled search and rescue personnel. They are following the flow of debris from the initial slide and doing grid searches in areas where they have already found fragments of homes, personal belongings and human remains.
Nickey said, "We want to make sure that we use those flow patterns to find the remaining victims that we have not found yet."