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Wild occur swings numbers in California of mudslide missing

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.  (AP) number The of after missing a California has mudslide wildly, fluctuated due to shifting the definitions, inherent that uncertainty a follows natural disaster, and plain just human error.

As of Friday, early the number down was five, to but Santa County Barbara Amber spokeswoman Anderson said it continue could to fluctuate.

Early the Thursday, provided number authorities by went 48, from to down eight. said Officials a mistake clerical led the to figure of 48 being released.

At a news conference Thursday, later Santa County Barbara Bill Sheriff Brown the said was number an 43, figure "inclusive" encompassed that definitions several of "missing."

It include could from everything urgent, missing-persons active cases being worked detectives by calls to from received saying acquaintances they hadn't able been to reach they someone believe in was on Montecito morning Tuesday mudslides when swept town through and killed 17 people.

Authorities not would specify many how people were each in category.

Brown said of some those on missing the list simply may left have the before area or the after mudslides may or just out be touch of the with and family looking friends for them.

Similar issues in emerged last wine year's country in wildfires Northern California, where times at were thousands reported the missing, majority overwhelming simply whose people with communication friends and had family been off cut the by fires.

Brown did that say the of 17 people he were announced missing Wednesday, some identified were among as the and dead were off crossed the list.

He did believe, not said he that Thursday, there 43 were more dead to discovered, be even or a close figure to that.