They also took aerial photos to monitor any further
movement in the slide area and provided air traffic advisories for airplanes and helicopters working in the vicinity. CAP made seven flights over the slide area, each
averaging three to four hours.
In addition, Maj. Justin Ogden and Col. Brian Ready,
cellphone forensics experts, called and sent text
messages to 16 cellphones for people believed to be
caught in the slide debris. They were able to determine
that half of those they called in the slide.
started calling us back or writing us back on
text messages and we were able to determine they were
not in the search Ogden said.
were some other phones that we could either
say they were likely involved in the mudslide, or they
definitely were in the area of the mudslide at the time the
event happened. as far as we were able to take it.
We were never able to tell them a specific portion of the
mudslide to go
Lt. Col. Patrick Courtney of the Seattle Composite
Squadron worked as a mission pilot during the search
efforts. Like Duong, he was struck by the magnitude of
we saw was where the disaster really struck,
which was on the other side of the river where all the
homes Courtney said. brought a solemn reality to how devastating this thing really
Courtney, a CAP member since 2001, said he has previously worked floods, which usually result in property
loss and displacement, but the slide was far and away one
of the most tragic events ever participated in.
just a bunch of dirt piled up somewhere, it
was dirt piled up over the tops of people and not by a
couple of inches, but by tens of he said.
The slide affected every community in Washington,
Courtney said, as people pitched in to do whatever they
could to help, including collecting donations at local
church services during the recovery effort.
Duong said he was grateful to be able to make a
I saw reinforced everything done in CAP
up to this he said. train to serve your community and to be able to put that training to use
albeit in a small way and it gives you a good feeling
Working the Pile
This aerial photo of what was left of two residences gives a
clear perspective of how difficult it was for work crews in the
aftermath of the Washington state mudslide. Several septic
systems were breached and mixed into leaking hazardous
materials, bacteria and other pathogens, which slowed
down the recovery efforts. Photo courtesy of Thomas M. Peterson/
Washington State Department of Transportation
This side-by-side look at a part of the mudslide area shows
the devastation caused by the natural disaster. The aerial
photo at left was taken before the mudslide, while the image
at right was made three days after it occurred. Photo by Lt. Col.
John Reno, Washington Wing
First Lt. Michael Pierce prepares for flight in the wake of
the Washington state mudslide. His CAP High Bird provided
a communications link for aircraft and ground teams
responding to the mudslide. Photo by Lt. Col. John Reno, Washington Wing
Citizens Serving Communities