Watch a Toyota 'bobsled' down a hill in California mudslide

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"I told my girlfriend, 'Hey, I don't know what's happening, but we've got to get ready to go'".

"I love the auto now", Mr Franklin said. The auto is clearly running, with the headlights on and wipers engaged, and was able to get around the curve in the hill, even as a fresh wave of mud and water engulfed it. "I didn't realize this little Prius was going to save my life".

"I could hear a rumbling and the rain was coming down hard and I said 'we gotta go now".

Watch Prius Surfs Downhill in Rushing Burbank Mudslide
Watch Prius Surfs Downhill in Rushing Mudslide

"The steering wheel was shaking and we could feel boulders and rocks underneath us", said Franklin. Rescue officials said numerous missing may simply have been unreachable by family and friends who reported they could not find them.

"My girlfriend was screaming at the top of her lungs: 'Go, go, go!"

"In disaster circumstances there have been many miraculous stories lasting many days and we certainly are searching for a miracle right now", Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said.

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"What you can't see in that video is the panic inside", says Franklin who uses his vehicle to work as a rideshare driver at night.

When Mr Franklin recounted his terrifying ride in the auto, he described seeing other, mangled cars that had been swept away.

The transplant from Dallas, Texas, says he'll keep his Prius and stay in California, but the next time he's told to evacuate, he won't hesitate. "Barely made it out".

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On Tuesday morning, Burbank police posted video on Twitter of two other vehicles being washed away in fast-moving floodwater that had turned Country Club Drive into a river of mud.

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