Officials said three unidentified men went missing Sunday after going into the uninhabited slide area on Grand Mesa to check on local farms’ source of irrigation water near the West Salt Creek. Mesa County Sheriff, Stan Hilkey stated, “We don’t want to create any more of a tragedy than this already is. We hope they may be stranded somewhere in such a way that they’ve avoided it.”
The mudslide began on U.S. Forest Service’s property after two days of rain. Part of a mountain broke free and a wall of snow and rocks smashed down into an area of rural private property that was inaccessible to the general public. “The slide came down with so much force and velocity that it came to a hill and came up and over a hill and came back down a significant hill. There’s no doubt the slide is tied to the amount of runoff and the rain we got yesterday. That seems very logical to us,” Hilkey said.
A “sheer wall” remains where the mountain broke away, and further slides are possible, warned the sheriff, who blamed recent rains for the slide.
In Colorado, no structures have been reported lost and no evacuations have been necessary. “That call was very valuable to us… the depth of it is overwhelming.” Helicopter surveys were conducted to examine the stability of the area and search for the missing persons.