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Death toll in Washington state mudslide rises to 41

A rescue worker takes a break while working in a debris field left by a mudslide in Oso, Washington April 3, 2014. REUTERS/Max Whittaker
A rescue worker takes a break while working in a debris field left by a mudslide in Oso, Washington April 3, 2014. REUTERS/Max Whittaker

(Reuters) - The death toll from a mudslide in Washington state last month rose to 41 on Monday after search teams pulled two more bodies from the mud and rubble, county officials said.

A rain-soaked hillside collapsed above the north fork of the Stillaguamish River on March 22, unleashing a torrent of mud that clogged the river, swallowed up a stretch of a state highway and crushed some three dozen homes on the outskirts of the tiny community of Oso, 55 miles northeast of Seattle.

Among the dead, 39 have been identified, Snohomish County officials said.

They range in age from 4-month-old Sanoah Huestis, who died with her grandmother, to 91-year-old Bonnie Gullikson, whose husband was among those who escaped the disaster with injuries.

Rescue teams have found no signs of life in the mud pile since the day of the disaster, and the Snohomish County Sheriff's office said two people remain listed as missing.

The White House said President Barack Obama is due to meet with the families of victims on Tuesday afternoon before leaving for a four-country tour of Asia.

(Reporting by Cynthia Johnston and Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, John Stonestreet)

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