“No one thought it would ever get this bad,” said photographer Charlie Langella after documenting the deadly mudslides that hit Montecito in Santa Barbara County, California, on Tuesday. As of Friday morning, seventeen people were confirmed dead, with anywhere from five to forty-three missing as the Montecito sheriff’s office investigated reports.
“Just before sunset, I rode my bike as far as I could on Coast Village Road until the mud was too deep,” Langella reported. “The rest of the way I trekked through the mud while keeping my camera clicking, in awe of all the mud, debris, and destruction. Then the rain came again, adding to the water and mud. I was heartbroken to find out that the next morning the rescuers were pulling bodies out of the mud and wreckage that I had photographed the day before.”