The Latest: Missing man found safe after California mudslide

AP News
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Posted: Jan 15, 2018 6:34 PM
The Latest: Missing man found safe after California mudslide

MONTECITO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on deadly California mudslides (all times local):

3:15 p.m.

Authorities say a 53-year-old man has been found safe after the California mudslides, leaving three people still missing.

Santa Barbara County sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said Monday that John "Jack" Keating was located in Ventura with his dog Tiny.

Hoover says Keating, a transient, was not in Montecito during the Jan. 9 storm as feared.

Twenty people are confirmed dead.

Those still missing are 28-year-old Faviola Benitez Calderon, 17-year-old John "Jack" Cantin and 2-year-old Lydia Sutthithepa.

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2:20 p.m.

A Southern California highway that's the main coastal route between Los Angeles and points west and north will remain closed for at least another week because of mudslides that have left 20 dead.

Jim Shivers, a spokesman for the California Department of Transportation, said Monday that officials are aiming to reopen U.S. 101 near the devastated town of Montecito on Jan. 22.

The highway has been closed since Jan. 9, when all lanes were inundated with mud, rocks and trees that rushed down hillsides during a powerful winter storm. More than 500 homes were damaged or destroyed. Four people remain missing.

Shivers says much of the water on U.S. 101 in Santa Barbara County has receded, allowing crews working around the clock to focus on removing solid material from the roadway.

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10 a.m.

Officials say they hope to have an estimate sometime Monday about when a key coastal highway will reopen in Southern California where mudslides have devastated the town of Montecito.

U.S. 101 has been closed for nearly a week since debris flows choked all lanes with mud, boulders, toppled trees and crushed cars.

Jim Shivers, a spokesman for the California Department of Transportation, says much of the water has receded, allowing crews working around the clock to focus on removing solid material from the roadway.

Amtrak has added additional cars to its route between Santa Barbara and points east as commuters increasingly rely on rail service to get around the freeway closure.

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9:30 a.m.

Once homeowners in the coastal California community of Montecito are ready to rebuild from deadly mudflows, few will do it with the help of flood insurance.

There are about 3,200 households in the wealthy town up the Pacific coast from Los Angeles. More than 500 homes were damaged or destroyed and at least 20 people killed when hills above town gave way amid a downpour last Tuesday, sending torrents of liquid mud and debris hurtling toward the ocean.

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According to Edith Lohmann, an insurance specialist with the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, just 58 buildings in Montecito's two zip codes have coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program.

Though the number of Montecito homes insured outside the government program was unavailable, it is the dominant source of flood coverage nationally.

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9:20 a.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump has been briefed on the mudslides that devastated Montecito, California, killing at least 20 people.

A statement Monday says the president will monitor the situation as cleanup and recovery moves forward nearly a week after flash floods ripped through the coastal community.

Four people are still missing. The U.S. 101 freeway and many other roads are closed indefinitely. Sixty-five homes were destroyed and hundreds more were damaged.

The White House statement says the president and first lady extend their deepest sympathies to the families affected, their appreciation for the first responders saving lives, and their prayers for those who are missing.