Suspected death toll rises from Colorado floods as nearly 500 unaccounted for

colorodo flooding day 2

Rain was still coming down Sunday in Colorado, preventing aerial efforts to search for those missing from a devastating flood, authorities said.

“It’s unlikely at this point that we’ll be able to reach those who are stranded in the hard-to-reach areas,” said Kim Kobel, a spokesperson for Boulder’s Office of Emergency Management.

But rescuers continued their ground efforts, searching for what could be hundreds of people unaccounted for.

A tearful Larimer County Sheriff told reporters that what he’s seen, even in the most devastated areas, has restored his hope.

Sheriff Justin Smith visited areas “somewhat cut off from the rest of the world,” he said.

The roads and homes might be gone, but Smith said “inch by inch, mile by mile, community by community they are taking this stuff back.”

Smith spoke of firefighters who pulled signs out of the mud and residents using their ATVs to rescue neighbors.

Still he couldn’t begin to estimate the scope of the damage. “I’ve known these areas for 25 years,” he said “I don’t recognize some of them.”

He and another official cautioned that the death toll would almost certainly rise.

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