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Men rescue crying infant, pull 4-year-old from landslide debris

Posted at 1:46 PM, Mar 25, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-25 15:20:27-04

ARLINGTON, Wash. (KCPQ) — Remarkable tales of bravery and survival are emerging from the deadly Washington landslide.

Drivers on State Route 530 who saw the immediate aftermath of the mudslide near Oso and pulled their cars over to the side of the road Saturday heard a baby crying in slide debris, a witness said in a phone interview Monday.


One of the four men cradling the baby found in mudslide debris near Oso, Wash., on Saturday. (KCPQ Courtesy Photo)

“We heard the baby crying in the background,” said the woman who asked that her name not be used. “We were standing there and you could hear the baby every once in a while, wasn’t all the time. Everybody tried to be quiet, you know, and we were all listening for it and we heard it and tried to pick where the sound was coming from.”

She said four men took off toward the sound.

“The State Patrol tried to stop them and said, ‘No, you can’t go out there, it’s too dangerous,’ and he (one of the men) says, ‘I hear a baby out there,'” the woman said.

CLICK HERE: Complete coverage of Washington landslide from KCPQ in Seattle 

The 6-month-old baby was found and rescued.

The mother was trapped and had two broken legs — she didn’t see her child’s rescue.

The child is believed to be the same one who was airlifted to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center. The child is in critical condition but is improving, the hospital said Monday afternoon. The mother is in satisfactory condition.

Boy rescued from Washington landslideAdditionally, KCPQ reports a 4-year-old boy named Jacob was plucked from the muddy quicksand by eagle-eyed rescuers hovering over the debris in a helicopter Saturday.

Ed Hrivnak with Central Pierce Fire and Rescue told KCPQ that patients were difficult to spot from the air because they blended in with the surroundings.

Hrivnak said crews struggled to wrestle Jacob from the muck. The boy was so firmly embedded in the slide that crews literally had to pull  him out of his pants.

Once he was safe aboard the helicopter crews flew him to drier ground.

RELATED: Hope of finding Washington landslide survivors dims as list of victims grows