- One home destroyed and 33 other properties isolated or threatened after the landslide on Wednesday morning
- Residents reported hearing a noise 'like thunder' before the ground gave way
- No one was hurt, but stranded residents had to be rescued by ATVs and boats
- Officials do not know what caused the slide as there has not been rain
- Resident said he knew the area was prone to movement but it was a price to pay 'for marvelous views'
- A geotechnical expert warned that the ground is still moving on Wednesday night
Devastating damage to homes sustained by a massive landslide in Washington state on Wednesday morning will not be covered by homeowners' insurance, residents have been warned.
The Northwest Insurance Council, which covers Whidbey Island where the early-morning slide destroyed one home and threatened scores more, released a reminder to homeowners that their policies specifically exclude damage caused by earth movement.
It will come as yet another blow to the families in Coupeville who awoke at 4 a.m. on Wednesday as a 50-yard-wide landslide wiped out roads, gardens and a home, leaving a trail of destruction and debris behind. Experts have warned that the earth could continue to move for several weeks or more.
Homes are only covered if their owners have shelled out for extra coverage, the NW Insurance Council said in a statement.
Concerns: Bret Holmes, who was evacuated from his home in Whidbey Island near Coupeville on Wednesday, has learned that his insurance company will not cover the damage from the landslide
Destruction: The landslide that wiped out one home and threatened scores more visibly disrupted the shoreline on Whidbey Island in Washington
One such homeowner is Bret Holmes, who inherited an elegant home from his late parents recently and was getting it ready for sale. When his brother called Allstate Insurance, he was told the property was not covered for the damage.
Speaking to the Seattle Times, he recalled hearing a noise 'like an earthquake' and took a flashlight to see where it came from. But the light ran out of battery and he went inside to get another. But when he returned 'where I had been standing was no longer there'.
He scooped up as many possessions as he could to store in a garage which is further away from the cliffside, and he is now staying at a nearby home.
The area is known for its beautiful views, and is home to some of Washington's wealthiest residents including Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. The tech giant's home was not destroyed but emergency crews cut across his lawn to save a neighbor who was in danger.
Mystery: Geologist Terry Swanson from the University of Washington surveys the damage after the landslide broke across 500 yards of the cliff face
Displaced: This home was most dramatically displaced after it was knocked off its foundations when the landslide began at 4 a.m. on Wednesday
Sounding the alarm: Residents who heard the slide about eight miles south of Coupeville on Wednesday described it as sounding like thunder
Dream homes ruined: Many of the homes are summer cabins or weekend getaways and were unoccupied. Some are larger, upscale properties and others are more modest dwellings
Dangerously close: Officials did not immediately know what had sparked the movement but said that the area is prone to landslides
Prime: The area is home to some of Washington's wealthiest residents, including Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
Eleven people from 16 homes along a road close to the water were evacuated by boat after the road became blocked by the landslide, officials told KOMO News.
Another 20 to 25 people were evacuated from 17 homes along a road higher up the hill that is being threatened by the slide
It was within 10 feet of one home - and a geotechnical engineer said the landslide was 'still active' last night.
Whidbey Island officals say they were told 'the ground is still moving' by the expert from the Department of Natural Resources, who was brought in to test the soil in the wake of the dramatic scenes yesterday.
This slide is likely to continue moving for several weeks or more, the state Department of Natural Resources said.
The area at risk has been narrowed slightly, a Fox News report said.
'It's possible more homes could be lost. We're trying to ensure the safety and awareness of people,' Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue Chief Ed Hartin added. 'There's not anything we can do to stop the movement of the ground.'
Neighbors began helping others to load furniture and other belongings on Wednesday afternoon in a frantic panic to get everyone away from the area.
'We don't even know where the trucks are going,' one woman told KOMO. 'Just getting them the hell out of here.'
Many of the homes are summer cabins or weekend getaways and were unoccupied at the time of the slide. Some are larger, upscale properties and others are more modest.
Drop: Authorities are still investigating the landslide but believe it was caused by stored moisture in the mud - which is often the cause of landslides