Sunday, May 25, 2014

Unified Command On Grand Mesa For Mudslide

Large Mudslide On Grand Mesa, 3 People Missing

UPDATE Posted at 7:20 a.m., May 26, 2014: Mesa County Sheriff's Office Sheriff Stan Hilkey will be meeting with media at noon, at the roadblock (Salt Creek Road and Highway 330, about 2 miles past the town of Collbran). This will be an informal news conference. For media purposes, video and pictures of the mudslide are a top priority in providing today.

For our public/media, updates on assessment of mudslide should be available after a helicopter flight goes out and returns--that is now scheduled to launch at approximately 8:30 a.m. No changes in information overnight and the three missing men, remain missing this morning.

Non-emergency dispatch in Mesa County can be reached at: 970-242-6707, if there is a true need from the public/citizens regarding this incident. Media inquiries can still be emailed to: And, follow us on Facebook & Twitter @SheriffMesaColo using #MCMudslide.

Post at 10 p.m., May 25, 2014: Mesa County, Colo. -- 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. 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. Citizens and media are highly discouraged from going into the area and a road block has been established outside the mudslide perimeter, for safety. The roadblock 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 (I-70 is approximately 26 miles north of the slide). 

Because cell phone service does not work in the area of incident command, updates aren't expected overnight. But, will be posted here on Monday, as soon as possible. We will also work on getting video and photos from the scene, but likely won't be available until early afternoon on Monday. Again, media and citizens are highly discouraged from going up there for safety reasons and will not be allowed through the roadblock.

Overnight inquiries from media should send an email to: and a response will be provided as soon as possible. Also, follow us on Twitter @SheriffMesaColo using #MesaCounty #GVCopBeat and #MCmudslide (for this incident).