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One dead, 3 missing after mudslide ravages Colorado town

August 10, 2013|By Benjamin Mueller
  • Volunteer rescuer Jesse Rochette searches the Fountain Creek flood waters for anyone trapped or stranded as another flash flood washes off the Waldo Canyon burn scar in Manitou, Colo.
Volunteer rescuer Jesse Rochette searches the Fountain Creek flood waters… (Michael Ciaglo / AP )

One man is dead and authorities were searching for three other people in Colorado after a mudslide and flash floods swept through an area scorched last year by a wildfire.

Manitou Springs Police Chief Joe Ribeiro said at a news conference Saturday that authorities were searching for three people who were reported missing: Juston Travis, 24; a man identified by neighbors only as Steve; and a blond, petite woman who was seen trying to escape floodwaters in a tree.

“She was seen near the creek at one moment hanging in a tree and then not seen the next,” Ribeiro said.

The one confirmed victim was John Collins, 53, of Teller County. His body was recovered Friday from under “significant amounts of debris” on U.S. Highway 24 in Manitou Springs, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. It was unclear if Collins chose to leave his nearby vehicle on his own or if floodwaters forced him from it.

The mudslide was triggered by a torrential storm that dropped nearly 1.5 inches of rain on an area near Colorado Springs that was burned by the Waldo Canyon fire last year. The mudslide ripped up roads and stranded vehicles.

Several homes and businesses were destroyed by debris surging down the burn scar and others sustained serious damage. Ribeiro said eight people spent Friday night in an evacuation shelter.

According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, Friday’s flash flood was the third to hit Manitou Springs this year and the fourth in the area since the June 2012 Waldo Canyon wildfire, which destroyed 347 homes, killed two people and burned more than 18,000 acres.

The National Weather Service issued another flash flood watch for the area Saturday, with heavy rains forecast for the region. 


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Twitter: @benjmueller

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