The pain, anguish and fear comes through as a young mother who held on to her baby boy as their Oso, Wash., home was swallowed by a mudslide on March 22 describes the harrowing ordeal.
Here’s how our colleagues at Seattle’s KPLU begin their story:
“Amanda Skorjanc was sitting in her kitchen with her baby son, Duke, when she heard ‘what sounded like a truck off a rumble strip.’
” ‘And then it continued, and I thought, Oh, maybe it’s an earthquake. And then the light started to shake. The light started to blink,’ said the 25-year-old mother.
“Skorjanc looked out the side door of her Oso home, and saw nothing. Then she looked out the front door.
” ‘It was like a movie. Houses were exploding,’ she said, fighting back tears. ‘The next thing I see is the neighbor’s chimney coming in through our front door. And I turned and I held Duke, and I did not let him go.’ ”
Not long before the mudslide, Skorjanc’s husband, Ty, had kissed his wife and son goodbye before heading to a local hardware store. He was out of the neighborhood before the earth moved.
As The Associated Press adds, Skorjanc had then settled in to watch some videos with Duke. That’s when the mudslide struck. “When the earth stopped moving,” the AP writes, “Skorjanc was trapped in a pocket formed by her damaged couch and pieces of her roof. She had two broken legs and a broken arm. … She also suffered injuries to her face, including an eye socket.”
Duke, who is 6 months old, suffered a skull fracture. Mother and son are recovering. Skorjanc gave her first interview from her hospital bed Wednesday. Her account of what it was like in those terrible moments on March 22 and afterward is heartbreaking.
“With her arm broken and legs trapped in mud,” KPLU writes of what happened to Skorjanc, “she could do nothing but sit and wait with her son, confused about what had just happened.
“He was dirty and a little blue, and I thought I was losing him,” she said. “I would pat on his chest, and say, ‘Stay with me, bud.’ ”
The eventual wail of sirens, Skorjanc says, was “the most amazing sound I ever heard.” Rescuers were on the way. They used chain saws to remove debris and get to Skorjanc and Duke.
Now, Skorjanc says she feels “so blessed, and at the same time, I feel — and I know I shouldn’t — but I feel guilty. I have my family, and some don’t.”
As of Thursday, the number of confirmed deaths stood at 36. Ten other people remain missing.