About 18 unaccounted for; rescuers turn back in dangerous conditions

ARLINGTON, Wash. (AP) — Authorities in Washington state say it's too dangerous to send rescuers into a mudflow that is "basically like quicksand."

The mud was so thick and deep that searchers turned back last night after attempting to reach an area where voices had been heard crying for help.

Officials say about 18 people are unaccounted for after yesterday's massive mudslide that killed at least three people and injured several others.

Authorities say the slide wiped out one neighborhood of 28 to 30 homes, and blocked about a mile of State Route 530 near the town of Oso, about 55 miles north of Seattle.

The mud was reported to be about 60 feet deep in some areas.

As authorities try to determine how to get responders on the ground safely, helicopters will be flying over the area looking for people who may have been able to get out on their own and any other signs of life.

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168-a-15-(Chief Travis Hots, Snohomish County Fire District 21, at news conference)-"and several homes"-Snohomish County District Fire Chief Travis Hots says a massive mudslide has caused extensive damage. (23 Mar 2014)

<<CUT *168 (03/23/14)££ 00:15 "and several homes"

173-a-15-(Chief Travis Hots, Snohomish County Fire District 21, at news conference)-"was not successful"-Snohomish County District Fire Chief Travis Hots says rescuers were unable to save people who were trapped alive under the mudslide. (23 Mar 2014)

<<CUT *173 (03/23/14)££ 00:15 "was not successful"

172-a-16-(Chief Travis Hots, Snohomish County Fire District 21, at news conference)-"looking for people"-Snohomish County District Fire Chief Travis Hots says experts are conducting helicopter surveillance of the mudslide to develop the best strategy for dealing with it. (23 Mar 2014)

<<CUT *172 (03/23/14)££ 00:16 "looking for people"

APPHOTO WASET103: An aerial view shows a huge volume of earth missing from the side of a hill facing Stillaguamish River, in a landslide along State Route 530, between the cities of Arlington and Darrington, on Saturday, March 22, 2014. Search and rescue operations are underway for survivors. (AP Photo/ The Seattle Times, Marcus Yam) MANDATORY CREDIT TO BOTH THE SEATTLE TIMES AND THE PHOTOGRAPHER (22 Mar 2014)

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APPHOTO WAEVE111: A fatal mudslide brought debris down the Stillaguamish River near Oso, Wash., Saturday, March 22, 2014, stopping the flow of the river and destroying several homes. (AP Photo/The Herald, Genna Martin) (26 Feb 2014)

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APPHOTO WAEVE113: A fatal mudslide brought debris down the Stillaguamish River near Oso, Wash., Saturday, March 22, 2014, stopping the flow of the river and destroying several homes. (AP Photo/The Herald, Genna Martin) (26 Feb 2014)

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