Authorities: 18 missing in Washington mudslide

CHRIS GRYGIEL DONNA GORDON BLANKINSHIP Associated Press Published:

ARLINGTON, Wash. (AP) -- Authorities say 18 people are unaccounted for after a massive mudslide in Washington state killed at least three people and forced evacuations because of fears of flooding.

Snohomish County Fire District 21 Chief Travis Hots said at a news briefing Sunday that they suspect there are people out there, but the situation is too dangerous for rescuers.

He said the slide is "basically like quicksand." Searchers had to turn back late Saturday after attempting a rescue in an area where signs of life were heard.

Authorities are using helicopters, and plan to drop rescuers into areas if they find signs of life

The slide has blocked about a mile of a state highway. Several people -- including an infant -- were critically injured and at least six houses were destroyed.