LOS ANGELES — Rescuers threw ladders and tarps across mud up to 6 feet deep to help hundreds of trapped people from cars that got caught in a roiling river of mud along a major Southern California trucking route, a California Highway Patrol official said Friday in what he and other witnesses described as a chaotic scene.

Amazingly, officials said, no deaths or injuries were reported.

The people rescued from State Route 58, about 30 miles east of Bakersfield, were stranded in a powerful storm Thursday evening. They were rescued in darkness about 10 hours after the storm hit and taken to three shelters.

“It was terrifying,” 51-year-old Rhonda Flores of Bakersfield told The Associated Press on Friday. “It was a raging river of mud. I’ve never experienced anything like it, ever.”

Flores said she, her mother and her stepfather were driving back to Bakersfield from her sister’s funeral in Utah when the storm hit out of nowhere.

“It started raining, and it kept raining, the water started to build up and the mud started coming,” Flores said from the church where she, her family and about 150 other people sheltered overnight. “The water’s rushing by, the mud’s rushing by, then pieces of trees started coming by and the water was past our doors.”

Flores said the trio was prepared to jump out of the windows if the water got any higher. Luckily, it subsided.

“I’m feeling blessed that we are here,” she said.

Sgt. Mario Lopez, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol, was at the scene as people were being rescued and said it was sheer chaos.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” Lopez said. “The whole side of the hill just came down onto State Route 58 … There’s no highway.”

The storms unleashed flash flood and debris flows along the 58, the Interstate 5 and in two small mountainside communities, where at least a dozen homes were reported damaged.

Lopez said it will take days to reopen State Route 58, a mile of which is choked with mud between 2 and 6 feet deep. About 200 cars and semi-trucks were trapped in the now-hardened mud, frozen in place at odd angles.

Hundreds of semis were backed up for 10 miles on the freeway at one point Friday because of the closure.

Emergency crews were working to dig out head-high mounds of mud from the 58 and Interstate 5, which was also shut down as hundreds of cars were trapped in the mud Thursday.