TODAY   |  March 27, 2014

Mudslide survivor: I was ‘sliding and tumbling’

As the search enters its sixth day, the death toll rises to 16 in the devastating Washington mudslide that took place over the weekend. Rescue officials face challenging recovery efforts as survivors speak out. NBC’s Miguel Almaguer reports.

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

>> authorities in washington state say 90 people remain missing or unaccounted for following that devastating mudslide over the weekend. miguel is in arlington with the latest. good morning to you.

>> reporter: as search teams prepare to enter day six, the number of dead is officially at 16, though authorities fear more bodies have been recovered, this as a number of missing slowly drops. with no sign of life in what is left of oso, stories of survival here seem even more incredible.

>> we're under the mud and water and i'm sliding and i'm tumbling and it stopped.

>> reporter: robin youngblood rode a wave of blood a quarter mienl. she can't believe this is what she survived.

>> it must have been going 150 miles an hour. i just had time to say "oh, my god" and it hit.

>> it looked like a bulldozer.

>> this woman was home with seven children, a slumber party coming to an end when she called 911. everyone made it out safely but what happened here is still fresh.

>> i was thinking, well, this is the end, i'm going to die.

>> there hasn't been a rescue in oso sense saturday when 4-year-old jacob spillers was hoisted to safety by randy fay, but fay couldn't find jacob's father and three brothers and sisters .

>> and you hurt for that kid and the mom. but the silver lining is mom and kid are back together. so that's what you hang on to.

>> reporter: this morning 90 are missing, down from 176. natasha lost her mother saturday but is still waiting for word on her 4-month-old baby. all she has left are pictures and memories.

>> i have lost my baby and my mom. she's the most beautiful woman.

>> reporter: the debris field that took so many lives is 30 to 40 feet deep in spots, as tall as a four-story building. there were two reports, one in 1999 , another in 2010 , that warned the county the mountain was dangerous in the exact area where the earth gave way.

>> the community did feel safe. they understood that risk. i think we did what we could do. sometimes large slides happen.

>> reporter: what happened here was unthinkable to most and now so is the grief. for now search teams are in