Authorities: 18 missing in Washington mudslide

DONNA GORDON BLANKINSHIP and CHRIS GRYGIEL
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This photo provided by the Washington State Patrol shows the aftermath of a mudslide that moved a house with people inside in Snohomish County on Saturday March 22, 2014. The Washington Department of Transportation says mud, trees and building materials are blocking both directions of State Route 530 near the town of Oso. Search and rescue operations are underway by Snohomish County crews and the Washington State Patrol. Spokesman Bart Treece of the Washington State Department of Transportation says he doesn't know how long the two-lane rural road will be closed. He says drivers are advised to find another way to get between Darrington and Arlington. (AP Photo/Washington State Patrol)

ARLINGTON, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say 18 people are unaccounted for after a massive mudslide in Washington state killed at least three people and forced evacuations because of fears of flooding.

Snohomish County Fire District 21 Chief Travis Hots said at a news briefing Sunday that they suspect there are people out there, but the situation is too dangerous for rescuers.

He said the slide is "basically like quicksand." Searchers had to turn back late Saturday after attempting a rescue in an area where signs of life were heard.

Authorities are using helicopters, and plan to drop rescuers into areas if they find signs of life

The slide has blocked about a mile of a state highway. Several people — including an infant — were critically injured and at least six houses were destroyed.