Sacramento Task Force Leader Descibes Mudslide Recovery Effort

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The Sacramento Urban Search and Rescue team returned to northern California Tuesday morning after a 12-day recovery mission in Oso, Wash. after a devastating mudslide.

Sacramento City Fire Chief and task force leader Chris Costamagna confirms the team recovered three identifiable bodies on the deployment.

“Each time we found remains, it was rewarding to the team, knowing that we were giving the community or another family another peace of mind and closure” Costamagna said.

task force 7Within four hours of arriving, nearly 74 men and six women came up with a recovery plan. They decided early on to think of the mudslide as an avalanche, a more familiar disaster to Sacramento-based rescue crews than a mudslide.

Many of the team members tell FOX40 that this was the most exhausting deployment in their careers as volunteers with the urban search and rescue team. Day after day, they walked through thigh-deep mud,
searching just six inches at a time and covering only 40-square feet a day.

“Six inches at a time, they would go through the rubble, the debris, slowly, and they would empty their bucket, and make sure there was nothing in it.” Costamagna told FOX40.

With the sole mission of giving the community of Oso, Wash. just a little more closure, Costamagna says mission complete.

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