9/30/2014

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Landslide survivor: 'I just kept digging and digging and digging'

Landslide survivor: 'I just kept digging and digging and digging'
DARRINGTON, Wash. -- Mac McPherson said it sounded like a tornado when the weekend landslide slammed into his house, killing his wife and wiping out his home.

The 78-year-old is now out of the hospital, but he said he won't have peace until he's allowed to return to the site where he lost everything.

McPherson and his wife, Linda, were sitting in their living room reading the paper when the world came crashing down.

"There's this horrendous noise and all the trees were going like this and the noise kept getting louder and louder and then the worst noise you ever heard occurred," McPherson said.

The couple's beloved family farm in Darrington was ripped apart. Beams, trees, rafters, stove pipes and mud trapped McPherson in his crushed mission chair.

"I kept yelling at Linda to dig," he said.

He was able to grab a piece of wood from his broken chair to begin digging himself out of the wreckage.

"I was all balled up, but this one hand was free and I had a stick," he said. "So I just kept digging and digging and digging with this stick until I could see a light and shoved that sucker up through there. And started waving it back and forth."

Rescuers saw that waving piece of wood and used a chainsaw to free McPherson from the rubble. As soon as he was above ground, he asked about his wife.

"I was asking how come you're not digging her out," he said.

Linda, who he had been married to for 45 years, didn't make it out. McPherson suffered some compression injuries and nasty cuts, but he's expected to be fine. Only one of his two dogs survived the slide.

McPherson said he was shocked to see how far his house had traveled in the slide.

"I mean that sucker went 150 yards," he said. "It went through the back yard into a hollow up the hollow and all the way to the machine shed."

McPherson is now back to where he was when he first met Linda, when everything he owned could fit in a bag. He's not sure how he'll start over again.

"Ain't no way in Hell I'll ever build a house under a mountain again, especially not that mountain," he said.
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