Waiting in Agony

By Jennifer Bjorklund

Published 03/26 2014 05:05PM

Updated 03/26 2014 05:09PM

(NBC News)  Hundreds of rescuers continue to dig through tons of mud and debris in hopes of finding any survivors from Saturday's massive mudslide in Washington state.

The unofficial death toll now stands at 24, with eight of those fatalities yet to be recovered from the slide site, and more than a 150 others are on the list of those still missing.

As the hours and days pass hope of finding anyone still alive under the mud and debris is fading.

"When you're finding cars that are basically compacted to the size of a washing machine it pretty much alleviates all hope," says Dayn Brunner, searching for his missing sister. 

Questions persist about the risks the community faced. In 2006 there was a smaller landslide in the same area, and in 1999 a report from the Army Corps of Engineers warned of the potential for a large catastrophic failure.

County officials say they mitigated the risks, but that the sheer size of this slide was overwhelming.

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