Death toll rises to 18 in mudslides in S. California

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Mudslides caused by a winter storm in southern California have killed at least 18 people and injured 28 others, local authorities said Friday.

The body of the 18th victim who died in Tuesday's mudslides in Montecito, Santa Barbara County, was found by emergency workers, and there were still five people missing as of Friday afternoon, according to Santa Barbara County spokeswoman Amber Anderson.

"The rescue operation is ongoing," She told Xinhua.

Officials on Thursday released the names of 17 victims, ranging from 3 to 89 years old.

A total of 1,250 rescuers using dozers, searching dogs and helicopters continued searching for people trapped in debris on Friday. Local and federal agencies are conducting restoration efforts simultaneously.

A strong winter storm on Monday hammered southern California on the U.S. West Coast with heavy downpours, triggering deadly mud flows before dawn on Tuesday. 

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