TODAY   |  March 23, 2014

Frantic search for survivors in Washington mudslide

A massive mudslide has killed at least three people and seriously injured at least six more. The mudslide happened late Saturday morning, and the search for victims continues. NBC’s Miguel Almaguer reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> to today's stop story as we focus on the frantic search for possible survivors of the mudslide in washington state . rescuers say they could be trapped after a huge chunk of a hill went roaring over people's homes. crews have reported hearing screams for help throughout the night. miguel almaguer is about 55 miles north of seattle. good morning.

>> reporter: good morning. at this hour, the rescue operation is under way, a desperate search for survivors. this mudslide was triggered when the mountain side couldn't take anymore water. first responders did hear voices overnight. they know victims are trapped. they are risking their lives to try and save theirs. it came without warning, a wave of crashing mud, trees and rocks 20 feet high. the fast-moving deadly debris field the size of three football fields. at least three were killed. overnight first responders could hear cries for help.

>> we have people that are yelling for our help and we are going to make -- we're going to take extreme risks to try to get them out of there.

>> reporter: the wall of mud crashed half a dozen homes. six people are listed in critical or serious condition. there was no time to run.

>> i was coming down the hill and i just saw the darkness, like somebody wants to grab you and everything was gone, like three seconds.

>> reporter: the mudslide washed overstate route 530. rescue teams from across the region are deployed to find the missing.

>> we're hearing cries, possibly a child from this side.

>> reporter: a 6-month-old baby was among those pulled from the mud. it's unclear just how many are still missing. this morning mud is no longer sliding, but the water is rising.

>> it's dammed up so bad, there's no water coming down the river in front of our house.

>> reporter: the stillaguamish river is jammed with debris. if the mud gives way, the flooding downstream could be catastrophic.

>> it's going to break loose. the question is how and where. for goodness sakes, think about your families, your community, your neighbor.

>> reporter: one disaster triggering two emergencies. those who survived the mud are now bracing for a flood. with the sun rising first responders hope to cover more ground at first light. yesterday rescue teams were wading through knee-deep mud. they needed themselves to be rescued. erica.

>> tough situation. miguel, thank you.