TIME Disaster

A Survivor of the Washington Mudslide Shares Her Story

Washington mudslide survivor Amanda Skorjanc, 25, talks to the media while sitting in her hospital bed on Wednesday, April 9, 2014, in Seattle. Dan Bates—The Herald / Pool / AP

Amanda Skorjanc, who was watching videos at home with her infant son when the land began to move, breaks her silence on how they were injured but rescued from the disaster that has claimed 36 lives so far

Few who witnessed the terrifying mudslide that ravaged the small Washington community of Oso on March 22 lived to tell the story, but on Wednesday, Amanda Skorjanc shared her terrifying experience, which she lived through with her infant son.

“I held onto that baby like it was the only purpose that I had,” she told the AP from Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where she is hospitalized.

Skorjanc was watching videos at home with her son when the lights started to flicker and shake. Looking outside, she saw an enormous sludge wall pummeling through the community, launching a neighbor’s chimney in her direction.

When the horrifying deluge finally ended, Skorjanc and her baby found themselves injured but alive in a pocket formed by a damaged couch and pieces of roof.

“I started to hear sirens — the most amazing sound I ever heard,” she said, adding that she kept her eyes closed as she and her son were rescued. “I was scared and in so much pain.”

Skorjanc’s husband was out on an errand when the mudslide hit, and was unscathed.

Skorjanc, however, suffered multiple fractures, crushed ankles and injuries to an eye socket, while her son fractured his skull. While he is recovering, doctors say she will need to be off her feet for another 10 weeks — and the emotional healing will take a lot longer.

The latest death toll in the disaster is 36.

[AP]

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