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Search Underway For Three Men Missing After Colorado Mudslide

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[May 27, 2014]  By Keith Coffman
 DENVER (Reuters) - Search and rescue crews were looking for three men on Monday who have been missing since a four-mile-long (6-km) mudslide ripped through a remote area near the Grand Mesa National Forest in western Colorado the day before.

The slide tore through an area outside the mountain community of Collbran, which has a population of about 700 people and is located 200 miles (320 km) west of Denver, said Heather Benjamin, spokeswoman for the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office.

Three people were missing in the incident and the sheriff's office on Monday identified them only as three men. Further details were expected to be released at a press conference on Monday afternoon.

The disaster area was estimated to be about two miles (3 km) wide and about 250 feet (75 meters) deep in places and was described by deputies on the scene being very unstable, the sheriff's office said.

A witness described hearing a sound similar to that of a freight train, which was attributed to the slide, the office said.

An entire ridge was believed to have been sliding for most of the day after nearly a week of rain that has soaked large swaths of the Rocky Mountain state.

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The National Weather Service in Boulder, Colorado, issued an advisory this month warning that monsoon rains, which caused flooding in the state last September, could increase the possibility of landslides as the state's deep snowpack melts.

A mudslide two months ago buried much of a community in the Cascade foothills of Washington state, killing more than 40 people. County officials said on Thursday that a 42nd set of remains had been recovered from the rubble.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg; and Peter Galloway)


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