A violent mudslide occurred in Mesa County, approximately 11 miles to the southeast of Collbran, Colo. on Sunday. Three men are feared to have been caught up in the massive slide and the search for them continued through Monday.
The missing individuals have been identified by the Mesa County Sheriff's Office as 51-year-old Clancy Nichols, his 24-year-old son Danny Nichols, and 46-year-old Wes Hawkins. All three men are local residents who live on ranches in the area.
Prior to the major mudslide, the region had been bombarded with heavy rains leading to a smaller mudslide. The three men set out after hearing from ranchers that there had been a disruption of their irrigation system.
The three men reportedly headed for the scene of the minor slide in an all-terrain vehicle and pick-up truck to try and investigate the area near West Salt Creek Road. Neither vehicle has yet been found.
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It is believed they may have been caught up in or trapped by a far larger mudslide that occurred on Sunday. The search for the men began hours after the massive slide occurred and continued through Monday.
The mudslide was estimated to be 2 to 3 miles long and possibly as deep as 250 ft. It is far larger than the Washington mudslide blamed for 41 deaths.
This mudslide occurred in a largely remote area with no structures, so there was very little threat of damage to property or loss of life. The area is still dangerous as the ground where the slide occurred is still unstable, making the search for the missing men a tricky situation.
The U.S. Geological Service and the National Weather Service are said to be sending a hydrologist and geologist into the area to help with the search efforts.
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The family and friends of the missing men are hoping that they are trapped but still alive.
According to Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey it's possible the men could be stranded in a location where there is no cellphone reception.
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