Search and rescue crews continue looking for survivors, victims - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Search and rescue crews continue looking for survivors, victims in mudslides

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Search and rescue crews are still out around the clock looking for survivors caught in the mudslides that swept through the Montecito area Tuesday morning. 

Crews are continually moving forward in rescue mode, searching for survivors; however, access is proving to be extremely difficult. 

They're covering as much ground as possible, working together to lift huge boulders to clear a path so more help can come in.

With the clock ticking, crews are trying to find people who might still be trapped in the rubble. 

"Time is of essence. We've got manpower out here, everybody is searching," said Curt Pickering, Montecito resident. 

"We have a time frame that we want to get to people as quick as possible," said Battalion Chief David Neels, Santa Barbara County Fire. "We have so many areas that are inaccessible to road surfaces and we have so much mud it's taking us a long time to cover all of the search areas."

"We still have to have hope and believe that people can be found. There's dogs everywhere searching but I truly believe we are going to find more people alive," Pickering said. 

But it's a challenge. Main access points are now blocked by thousands of boulders.

"Were using excavators, bulldozers and other equipment to gain access for our crews," Neels told KSBY News. 

When crews do manage to get around the boulder fields, they must still fight through the mud and debris.

"There are areas that will take you up to your waist. It's a huge challenge to make time in regards to rescues and searches," Neels said. 

Its a challenge crews recognize and they are working as fast as they can to get to the people who need help.

"I think many still have hope. I think prayer is the most important thing right now," Pickering told KSBY News. 

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