MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. – Authorities have recovered a man’s body from debris left by a fast-moving mudslide that swept through a historic town near Colorado Springs, Colo., and crews continued their search Saturday for three people reported missing after the flood.
El Paso County sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Kramer said John Collins, 53, of Teller County, was found Friday “buried beneath significant amounts of debris” on U.S. Highway 24 in Manitou Springs.
The mudslide closed the highway and flash flooding stranded vehicles in high water Friday night as about 1.3 inches of rain fell in an area burned by last year’s Waldo Canyon fire. Areas burned by wildfires are vulnerable to flash floods because the scorched soil absorbs less water.
Manitou Springs Police Chief Joe Ribeiro said crews were looking for three people who were reported missing: 24-year-old Juston Travis, a man identified by neighbors only as Steve and a blond female seen in a tree near the floodwaters.
“She was seen near the creek at one moment hanging in a tree and then not seen the next,” Ribeiro said.
Friday’s torrential rains swept mud, boulders and other debris from the burn scar down U.S. 24, washing away vehicles and damaging several homes and businesses in the area.
“Some folks have lost their homes. There’s been some total destruction on a few homes and some significant damage to others,” said Ribeiro.
The Colorado Springs Gazette reported Friday’s flash flood was the third to hit Manitou Springs this year and the fourth in the area since the Waldo Canyon fire, which destroyed 347 homes, killed two people and burned more than 28 square miles.