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81-Year-Old Man Miraculously Dug Himself Out Of The Washington Mudslide

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AP Photo / Marcus Yam

MacPherson thought a tornado had hit the area before he blacked out. He then woke up almost completely encased in cold mud, only able to move one arm.

The wooden rocking chair he was sitting saved his life, according to the LA Times. The structure kept debris from breaking his legs, and he was able to use the sharp end of a broken chair piece to dig himself out.

"He doesn't remember the impact of the mud," his daugher Kate McPherson said. "He doesn't remember the house going across the pasture.... He took six breaths and calmed himself down. He thought, and he started digging."

Gary MacPherson called out for his wife, according to his daughter, but she never responded. Linda MacPherson died in the mudslide, and her body was later recovered.

With a bump on his head and injuries to his leg muscles, Gary MacPherson is recovering in a local hospital with his family, according to the LA Times.

Since the mudslide devastated Snohomish County on Saturday, emergency responders have continued to recover bodies, with the latest death toll at 24. Preliminary estimates put the number of missing at more than 100.

Read the entire account at the LA Times.