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No ‘signs of life’ after huge Washington landslide

ABOVE: As Bigad Shaban reports from Arlington, rescue teams are working through dangerous conditions to find the victims of a deadly mudslide in Washington

Hopes of finding any more survivors from a massive mudslide that killed at least eight people waned as authorities announced there are 108 names on the list of missing or unaccounted for in the wake of the Washington mudslide.

Searchers pulled more bodies from the tangled debris field and crews worked through the night into Monday in rural Washington state.

Search and rescue teams took to the air in helicopters and the ground on foot on Sunday looking for anyone who might still be alive.

Snohomish County Fire District 21 Chief Travis Hots said Sunday that crews were able to get out to the debris and found one body buried in the mud.

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Hots said emergency responders and technical rescue personnel found “no signs of life” as they scoured the area.

The 1-square-mile mudslide that hit Saturday morning also critically injured several people and destroyed about 30 homes.

The slide of dirt, trees, mud rocks and other debris has expanded to nearly more than a square kilometre, officials told reporters at a press conference Sunday morning.

“The devastation is unrelenting,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee at a press conference this afternoon. “It is 10 times more devastating when you see it yourself.”

WATCH: The Snohomish Fire Department updated the media on the fatal mudslide that hit the area near Oso, WA. 

Inslee said they were in discussions with FEMA about emergency support, and that an evacuation order downstream of the Stillaguamish River had been lifted.

The landslide completely blocked State Route 530 near the town of Oso, about 55 miles north of Seattle. The North Fork of the Stillaguamish River was also blocked, which was expected to cause flooding in the area.

Seven people – including a six-month-old boy – were critically injured and entire neighbourhoods were destroyed.

Snohomish County Fire District 21 Chief Travis Hots said at a news briefing searchers heard voices calling for help Saturday night, but rescuers were not able to reach them due to dangerous conditions.

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“Basically, it’s like quicksand,” he said. “It’s extremely fluid and it’s moving. We suspect there are people out there, but it’s too dangerous to get responders out there.”

Because the mudslide blocked the river, which leads to a lake, officials are watching backflow closely in case of a further mudslide.

GALLERY: Washington mudslide 

A mudslide in Washington destroyed a house Saturday morning.
A mudslide in Washington destroyed a house Saturday morning. Washington State Patrol
A mudslide in Washington destroyed a house Saturday morning.
A mudslide in Washington destroyed a house Saturday morning. Washington State Patrol
A mudslide in Washington destroyed a house Saturday morning.
A mudslide in Washington destroyed a house Saturday morning. Washington State Patrol

Residents both upstream and downstream from the slide were being asked to prepare to leave their homes at a moment’s notice, Snohomish County spokeswoman Bronlea Mishler said.

“We are not issuing an evacuation order,” she said. “However, we need residents living along the river to be prepared. Conditions are changing very rapidly.”

Spokesman Bart Treece of the Washington State Department of Transportation said he doesn’t know how long the two-lane rural road will be closed.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for Snohomish County through Sunday afternoon.

The American Red Cross has set up evacuation shelters at a nearby school and elsewhere. Donations can be made to the Red Cross online to assist in disaster relief.

Authorities say the slide was caused by ground water saturation from recent heavy rainfall. John Pennington from the Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management said the area has a history of unstable land, as a slide also happened there in 2006.

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Late Sunday, Premier Christy Clark issued a statement, saying “The Government of British Columbia has extended an offer to help with
search and rescue operations, and will continue to monitor the situation.”

To learn about family in the area  or to reunite with survivors, call 425-388-5088.

Snohomish County has also set up a webpage to provide the latest information.

WATCH: Global News’ John Daly reports from state route 530 in Washington, just outside the slide zone with the latest.

*With files from the Associated Press