Officials abandoning hope of finding survivors

JONATHAN J. COOPER MATT VOLZ Associated Press Published:

ARLINGTON, Wash. (AP) -- Washington authorities say they have all but abandoned hope of finding mudslide survivors, but are keeping the official death toll at 17.

Snohomish County Executive Director Gary Haakenson repeated that number Friday, a day after authorities said the toll would rise significantly.

Authorities have previously acknowledged locating at least 25 bodies but have only recovered 17 people.

Haakenson says he believes crews are finding more bodies in the sodden debris but the process from extraction to identification by the medical examiner's office is very slow.

He says officials want to hold out hope for survivors, but "at some point we have to expect the worst."

There are 90 people confirmed missing from Saturday's mudslide in Oso, 55 miles northeast of Seattle.