Washington governor: Mudslide "total devastation"

DONNA GORDON BLANKINSHIP
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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) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee described the scene of a deadly mudslide that killed three people as a square mile of "total devastation" after flying over the disaster area Sunday.

The governor assured families at a news briefing that every endeavor is being explored to find their loved ones.

Eighteen people were unaccounted for a day after a terrifying wall of mud and debris destroyed as many as 30 homes in rural Washington state.

Inslee says "there is a full scale, 100 percent aggressive rescue going on right now."

Authorities said that because of the quicksand-like mud, it was too dangerous to send rescuers into the stricken area. Searchers were flying over the area in helicopter looking for signs of life.

The governor urged residents in nearby communities to remain alert to possible flooding.