Video of last week’s flash flood and mudslides north of Los Angeles shows the first hand account of several occupants inside a vehicle caught up in a sweeping flow of sludge on October 15.
Authorities have been searching for Richard Harvell, 67, who went missing in the midst of the mudflow. Search and rescue team members suspended their efforts on Sunday, according to ABC 23 News.
Harvell had been trying to save his drifting truck when he was swept away, witnesses were reported as recalling. Despite the efforts of Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department air support and Kern County Sheriff’s Office Desert Search and Rescue efforts in the aftermath of the flood, they have not found him yet.
State Route 58 will remain out of commission during cleanup efforts for a few more days. A report from CBS News details the 30-minute downpour that led to the mud deluge on that road and the I-5 “grapevine.” 200 cars and 300 people were left stranded as a result. The CBS report indicated that there were no reported deaths, but local CBS 23 reported Harvell still missing as of Sunday night.
Those caught up in the mudslide experienced of panic and shock. In the video above, the occupants of a car, including Rhonda Trott, can be heard screaming and cursing. Trott was reported as traveling through the area on her way from Mojave to Tehachapi. The car’s occupants ultimately managed to climb out of a back window, then walked miles to Sand Canyon.
Miles of SR 58 were covered in up to six feet of mud during the event.
CHP (California Highway Patrol) Central Division posted these collisions to Twitter:
SR-58 closed due to mud slide. no eta on when it will reopen. pic.twitter.com/07AHY0GhQk
— CHP Central Division (@CHPCentralDiv) October 16, 2015
Caltrans District 9 reposted from another Twitter account:
Here is a picture of the mudslide on SR 58. Please avoid SR 58! https://t.co/vCfiqwwEr7
— Caltrans District 9 (@Caltrans9) October 16, 2015
A truck driver told CBS that in 31 years of driving he had never seen an event like the mud mess in which he, too, was trapped.
With El Niño promising winter rains, Californians may have more such spectacles to fear.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana