ARLINGTON, Wash. â€” As more bodies were found in the remains of the deadly Oso mudslide in rural Washington state, there was a glimmer of bright news with a video of the dramatic helicopter rescue Saturday of a 4-year-old boy trapped in a mountain of clay.
Members of the Snohomish County Helicopter Rescue Team are seen in the video jumping from the chopper and trying to grab the boy, Jacob Spillers, from the muck.
The boy was home with his father and three siblings watching TV when the mudslide hit, obliterating their street.
Jacob was found within hours.
“He was on the mudslide, stuck in the mud,” said Kevin Ryce, a cousin of Jacob’s father, Billy Spillers, who flew from Scranton, Pa., to search for his family. Spillers is a chief petty officer in the Navy.
A picture of the toddler being rescued keeps Ryce going. The photo shows Jacob, his face blurred, in a T-shirt and undies, his legs covered in dirt and mud.
“This is Jacob getting rescued by helicopter after they pulled his body out of the mud,” said Ryce, pointing to the snapshot.
His mother, Jonielle, was at work. She has been reunited with Jacob, who is in good health. But Billy and the three other children, Brooke, Kaylee and Jovon, are missing.
Jacob was on the second floor and the only one able to get out of the house, the Seattle Times reported.
Ryce was planning to go into the mud and debris Wednesday to dig.
“You have to be out here with them, no matter what,” Ryce said. “I don’t like knowing that they’re still up there, still missing.”
Bello reports for USA TODAY; Byron for KING-TV, Seattle-Tacoma, Wash.