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Helicopters Resume Colorado Flood Evacuation Operations

Colorado National Gaurd
File Photo: UH-60 Blackhawk used for medical evac operations

Helicopters are once again in the air along the Colorado Front Range conducting evacuation operations in Boulder and Larimer Counties.

  With the rain subsiding across the state, the air support joins federal resources pouring into the state to help with recovery efforts. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has sent two 80-person teams to assist with rescues in Larimer County and provide aid to other communities.

“They come with a lot of capability; they come with physicians, paramedics, search and rescue capable people,” said Deputy Incident Commander Chuck Russell.

Russell says the teams will start going door to door in ravaged areas to inspect homes and account for the missing and those who died in the floods. The Denver Post reports that 398 people are unaccounted for in Larimer County at this time. Initial estimates show that 1500 residential homes may have been destroyed and another 4500 damaged.

Officials caution those are rough estimates that will become more precise as the week goes on.

Two women are missing and are presumed dead, both from Cedar Cove in the Big Thompson Canyon. The death toll may rise as search and rescue teams search homes in ravaged areas. The two presumed lost lives join four confirmed deaths previously announced in Colorado Springs, Jamestown and Boulder.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who may have lost loved ones in this,” said Nick Christensen with the Larimer County Sheriff’s office. “And certainly we’re concerned about those folks that are still isolated in those areas and want to get them out as soon as possible as well.”

Update 1:30 p.m. - Further clarification from the Larimer Sheriff's department on the number of unaccounted for. The new number, 398, is down from Monday morning's estimate of 643. The reason for the change was that 213 previously unaccounted for individuals have now been accounted for and there were some repeated names on the lists.

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