Body of father found after California mudslides, raising death toll to 20

Body of father found after California mudslides, raising death toll to 20The body of a 30-year-old father who had been missing since this week's mudslides in California has been found, increasing the death toll to 20.  The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office says Pinit Sutthithepa's body was found Saturday afternoon. Sutthithepa's 6-year-old son, Peerawat, and his father-in-law, 79-year-old Richard Loring Taylor, were also killed. His 2-year-old daughter, Lydia, is still missing. The list of those still missing in the mudslides has now shrunk to four. Pinit Sutthithepa was identified as the 20th victim of this week's deadly Montecito mudslides Credit: Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office/AP The search for survivors of the tragedy in parts of California's Santa Barbara County continued over the weekend, even as hopes dwindled to find anyone alive, officials said. "We're still in rescue mode and we still hope to find someone alive, although the chances of that are becoming slim," said Justin Cooper, a spokesperson for the multi-agency response team. Deadly California mudslides, in pictures Another 900 emergency personnel arrived Saturday to join the relief effort conducted by more than 2,100 personnel from local, state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy and the American Red Cross. The ramped-up rescue effort is in response to urgent requests for additional manpower made earlier in the week. Heavy rains on Tuesday soaked the area near Montecito, north of Los Angeles, where vegetation had been stripped away by the largest wildfire in California's history last month. Sodden hillsides gave way, unleashing a torrent of mud, water, uprooted trees and boulders onto the valley below and killing people aged 3 to 89. The destruction covered 30 square miles (78 square km), according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and forced the partial closure of one of California's most celebrated coastal roads, the heavily used Highway 101. Santa Barbara County Fire Capt Adam Estabrook and Engineer Rick Pinal search through a debris pile Credit: Reuters Officials ordered residents in most of the southeastern corner of Montecito, which is east of Santa Barbara, to leave their homes for what was likely to be one or two weeks. Many fled to nearby Carpinteria, where local resident Tessa Nash said they were communicating via a Facebook page called Carpinteria Swap, which is usually focused on buying and selling secondhand goods. Mudslides | Where am I at risk? In the last few days, Nash said, it has been carrying information about community-led blood drives and transportation tips. "We're really joined together," she said. "We're affected here in Carpinteria in the sense that we're taking these people in and a lot of people are out of work because they can't travel. It's a trickle down effect." (Additional reporting and writing by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Louise Heavens asnd Jeffrey Benkoe)  



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