Southern California's Mudslides Leave 17 Dead

At least 17 people are dead and 7 are still missing as homes were swept from their foundations as heavy rain sent mud and boulders sliding down hills. 

The mudflow caused by the first storm of the season wiped out nearly 60 homes and damaged hundreds of others, leaving the upscale coastal community in shambles. 

Authorities say the people killed range from age 3-89.

Among those killed was Roy Rohter, the founder of the St. Augustine Academy in Ventura, according to the Catholic school's headmaster, Michael Van Hecke.

A mudslide swept Rohter and his wife, Theresa Rohter, out of their home in Montecito. Rohter's wife was rescued and hospitalized in stable condition, but Roy Rohter did not survive. 

The Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management said Tuesday night the city of Montecito would be without potable water, electricity and sanitation "for an extended period of time."

Firefighters slogged through waist-high mud to pull a muck-covered 14-year-old girl out of the ruins of a home in Montecito, where she had been trapped for hours. 

The only way into some of the washed-out homes is by air. Ventura's Air Squad 6 dedicated helicopters to join Santa Barbara in the rescue effort.

The 101 Freeway in Santa Barbara County is expected to remain closed through the weekend as crews work on cleaning up the river of mud and debris on the roadway.

 
 
 
 

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