Oprah: Neighbour’s house ‘gone’ in deadly California mudslides
US media mogul Oprah Winfrey has returned to scenes of devastation in her home of Montecito after deadly mudslides killed 15 people.
A torrential rainstorm following record wildfires had triggered the mudslides that struck the Southern California, a wealthy enclave of about 9000 people northwest of Los Angeles that is home to such celebrities as Winfrey, Rob Lowe and Ellen DeGeneres.
Winfrey, fresh from sparking rumours of a US presidential run, said on Instagram she was “praying for our community again in Santa Barbara”.
“Woke up to this blazing gas fire. Then swipe left to see how deep the mud is in my backyard [sic]. Helicopters rescuing my neighbors. Looking for missing persons,” she wrote.
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While Winfrey’s property was covered with “mud and minor damage” her neighbour’s house had been swept away in the torrent, she said.
“The house in the back is gone”.
Winfrey shared photos of the deep mud in her backyard and video of rescue helicopters hovering over her house.
Rescue crews searched for anyone trapped, injured or dead in the onslaught that smashed homes and swept away cars.
Searchers made their way across a landscape strewn with boulders and covered in cement-like mud shoulder-high in some places.
“Right now our assets are focused on determining if anyone is still alive in any of those structures that have been damaged,” Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said.
At least 25 people were injured, 50 or more had to be rescued by helicopters, and an undetermined number of others were missing, authorities said. Four of the injured were reported in critical condition.
– Stuff, AP