First state trooper on scene describes landslide

by: Maria Guerrero Updated:

Gov. Jay Inslee took to Twitter to recognize the first Washington State Patrol trooper on the scene of the Oso landslide.

OSO, Wash. - Gov. Jay Inslee took to Twitter to recognize the first Washington State Patrol trooper on the scene of the Oso landslide.

“Rocky Oliphant showed incredible leadership and bravery,” tweeted Inslee.

Oliphant is now recounting the moment he arrived on the scene of the massive landslide.

Oliphant said he was on I-5 between Stanwood and Arlington when the initial call came out: possible flood with a barn roof in the road on SR 530.

It was then broadcast that the flooding was actually a mudslide.

“Initially, I had no idea how large the slide was,” said Oliphant. “I saw four volunteer firefighters on scene standing near the edge of the slide.”

The firefighters said they could hear someone yelling for help.

 “I could see power lines were down and wires were in the slide,” said Oliphant.

Two civilians were about halfway out of the blue house when they yelled back saying there was a woman and a baby.

“The baby was hurt and the woman had broken legs,” said Oliphant.

Rescuers by the house said they would need a path made to be able to walk toward the road.

“I started taking pieces of houses, trusses, roofing, plywood, metal roofing, 2X4’s to create a stable path for them to travel back on.  A few times I slipped between logs and debris where I could not touch the ground at all.  Other spots were about 3 feet deep.  It was very unsafe,” he said.

One residents walked toward the road holding the baby in a blanket.

“The further we traveled out into the slide, the more aware we were of the size and horror of the situation,” remembers Oliphant.