At least 17 dead following California mudslides, 13 still missing

UPDATE: Santa Barbara County now says number of missing after mudslides is 8 and early report of 48 was due to clerical error.


MONTECITO, Calif. --  At least 17 people have died and 13 are still unaccounted for following mudslides in Montecito, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff. 

Searches continued Wednesday as the winter storms that caused the mudslides moved out of the area.

"We have no idea where they're at. We think somewhere in the debris field," said Amber Anderson, a spokeswoman with Santa Barbara County.

RELATED: Local crew saves family from Montecito mudslide

The damage was spread over 30-square-miles, according to the Associated Press.

50 people had to be rescued and at least 25 people injured. Four of those injured were last reported in severely critical condition.

The San Diego Fire Department's Task Force 8 canine search and rescue mission received a request Wednesday to travel to Santa Barbara. The team consists of a task force leader, search team manager, logistics manager and two canine search specialists.

Help from the Coast Guard, National Guard and Los Angeles County is also on the way.

The mudslide occurred after flash flooding in the Santa Ynez Mountains. The same mountains were stripped of their vegetation by the massive Thomas Fire, the largest wildfire on record in California.

RELATED: Mudslide rescues in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara fire burn zones

Authorities said only about 10 to 15 percent of those in the mandatory evacuation area of Santa Barbara County heeded the warning.

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