Authorities: 18 missing in Washington mudslide

A wide aerial view shows the extensive damage of the landslide after taking out a chunk of earth from the side of the hill facing the Stillaguamish River, and down into the State Route 530, on the left, between the cities of Arlington and Darrington, on Saturday, March 22, 2014. Search and rescue operations are underway for survivors. (AP Photo/ The Seattle Times, Marcus Yam )
A wide aerial view shows the extensive damage of the landslide after taking out a chunk of earth from the side of the hill facing the Stillaguamish River, and down into the State Route 530, on the left, between the cities of Arlington and Darrington, on Saturday, March 22, 2014. Search and rescue operations are underway for survivors. (AP Photo/ The Seattle Times, Marcus Yam )

ARLINGTON, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say 18 people are unaccounted for after a massive mudslide in Washington state killed at least three people and forced evacuations because of fears of flooding.

Snohomish County Fire District 21 Chief Travis Hots said at a news briefing Sunday that they suspect there are people out there, but the situation is too dangerous for rescuers.

He said the slide is “basically like quicksand.” Searchers had to turn back late Saturday after attempting a rescue in an area where signs of life were heard.

Authorities are using helicopters, and plan to drop rescuers into areas if they find signs of life

The slide has blocked about a mile of a state highway. Several people — including an infant — were critically injured and at least six houses were destroyed.

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