It was a pleasant day for western Washington on Saturday March 22. My daughter and son in law decided on a drive to visit the scenic town of Darrington, about 60 miles northeast of Seattle. They drove East of Arlington on State Route 530 at about 9 am. They were long past the small town of Oso by 11 am when tragedy struck in a matter of seconds. A full square mile of hillside broke loose and obliterated the homes on Steelhead lane, dammed the Stilliguamish River and covered a mile of the highway they had only recently traversed. The speed was amazing. No one could have outrun it. When rain soaked ground gives way, whatever soil that may have granted stability to the slope suddenly becomes as liquid. It was just as if a huge lake suddenly tipped over, creating a tsunami of mud, burying all in its path.
So far, fourteen bodies have been found; but well over 100 are still unaccounted for. Saturday morning, kids out of school, pleasant day, pancakes for breakfast, maybe go to Seattle or Everett later on, but first, relax, take it easy, and then . . .And nobody knows how many cars may have been traveling that mile long stretch of highway. I'm so happy my loved ones escaped. But at the same time I am deeply saddened by the ones lost. I have traveled that road many times for business interests in Darrington. I believe, when the list of victims is finalized, I will recognize too many of the names.
The mud, with the consistency of quicksand was, in some places, over 15 feet deep.