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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 January, 2005, 12:33 GMT
US mudslide rescue bid continues
A fireman stands on mud and debris covering homes in La Conchita, California
Rescuers say they will keep looking for survivors
A search has continued through darkness for survivors of a mudslide that killed six in the United States when it crashed on to a village in California.

At least 12 people are still missing as rescue teams use high-tech listening devices, chainsaws and simple shovels to hunt for survivors.

More than 10 others were injured when the slide hit La Conchita on Monday.

Five days of snowfalls in the north and flooding in the south have left at least 15 others dead in the state.

Rescuers digging at the site of the mudslide vowed to work through Tuesday night despite more heavy rain raising fears of a second slide.

'Not going to stop'

"This is still a rescue operation. We have not given up hope on any of the people," said Ventura County Fire Chief Bob Roper.

Neighbours and relatives joined the search as fears grew for their loved ones.

La Conchita resident Jimmie Wallet, being restrained by police officers
I know my wife and kids are in there - I'm not going to stop
Jimmie Wallet
La Conchita resident

One resident of La Conchita, Jimmie Wallet, saw his home buried by the mudslide with his wife and three daughters inside it.

"I know they've got to be there. I'm not going to stop," he told The Associated Press news agency.

He had to be restrained by police after scrambling past a barricade trying to reach his house.

The rains follow storms which have battered the normally dry region since the middle of December and brought heavy snow to the mountains of northern California.

Along with the 15 killed by the storms elsewhere in California, two people have died in Utah and one in Nevada.

Record rainfall

Central Los Angeles has had 22 inches (56cm) of rain so far this winter, compared to a seasonal average of 15in.

The city has seen its wettest 15 consecutive days on record, AP quoted the National Weather Service as saying.

Between 15 and 20 houses were destroyed or damaged when the slide hit the village of La Conchita - 70 miles (110km) north-west of Los Angeles - at 1405 local time (2205 GMT) on Monday.

Local television showed dramatic footage of the slide, a brown avalanche which carried away trees and vegetation in its path and left huge patches of bare earth before hitting the neighbourhood.

Ventura County Fire spokesman Keith Mashburn said some houses were piled on top of each other and covered with up to 30ft (9m) of mud, rock and debris.

Three people were pulled alive from the rubble after being located with listening devices.

The rain and storms, caused by a persistent low pressure area over the region, have saturated the soil and turned the normally mild region into a flood zone.

The storms have also severely disrupted transport links.


SEE ALSO:
In pictures: California storms
10 Jan 05 |  In Pictures
State profile: California
26 Oct 04 |  Americas


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