UPDATE: 3 missing men identified after mudslide in Collbran

By: News Room Email
By: News Room Email

COLLBRAN, Colo. UPDATE 5:17 PM -

The Mesa County Joint Information Center confirms the three missing men are Wes Hawkins, Dan Nichols and Clancy Nichols. The search has wrapped up for the day and will continue tomorrow.

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UPDATE 1:15 P.M. -

According to Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey the three men who are reported missing went to check on their irrigation water that had been disrupted. From there they went to check on the slide. It's believed a second slide happened while they were in that area and they may have been caught in it.
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Mesa County JIC -
"A helicopter was able to fly over the scene this morning to assess the situation, three men remain missing. They are believed to be locals who went to the area to check out the slide yesterday evening. They have not been heard from since. We do not believe they have cell phones with them.
An estimated 40-50 emergency and Search and Rescue personnel are on scene trying to locate the men.
Search and Rescue ground teams are going into the slide area from each side to further assess and try to locate the men.
The slide is still very unstable. Part of the slide has formed an area where water is collecting.
The slide moved an additional 20 feet overnight.
The area of the slide is the West Salt Creek drainage.
No structures are in this area and no major roads are affected.
Several gas wells in the area have been shut down at this time as a precaution.
The Mesa County Sheriff's Office has confirmed a unified incident command has been established between Plateau Valley Fire Department, Mesa County Road and Bridge, and the Mesa County Sheriff's Office, to handle the large mudslide incident and search for 3 missing people possibly caught in the slide."

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The first reports of the mudslide came into the Grand Junction Regional Communication Center about 6:15 p.m., along with reports of 3 local Collbran/Mesa area residents missing.

Plateau Valley Fire Department first responded to the area of Salt Creek Road, in the area of Vega Reservoir, on the Grand Mesa. This area is east and south of the small town of Collbran--about 11 miles, located in Mesa County. Plateau Valley Fire and Deputies responded immediately, along with Mesa County Search and Rescue Control, Inc., and the Collbran Marshal. A road block is set up at the intersection of Highway 330 and Salt Creek Road, outside the town of Collbran.

The mudslide is estimated to be about 4 miles long, 2 miles wide and about 250 feet deep, in many places. It is described as very unstable by deputies on scene tonight, and they estimate an entire ridge has been sliding for most of today. A witness who called into dispatch this evening, described hearing a noise that sounded much like a freight train that is attributed to the slide.

"This slide is unbelievably big," Lt. Phil Stratton, Mesa County Sheriff's Office, said. Weather, including rain, has fallen in Mesa County most of the day and likely contributed to the cause of the slide. The area is very remote and no structures have been reported damaged, however a more accurate assessment will be established after daylight tomorrow. No major roads have been impacted.

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UPDATE 8:04 P.M. -
Authorities confirm mudslide on Salt Creek rd. in Collbran.

The slide is a couple of miles wide at the head and 4 miles long.

More updates to come...
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Reports are coming in about a mudslide on Salt Creek Road in Collbran.

Our crews are on their way to the scene, we will continue to bring you updates as they become available to us.


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