Near Needles, CA Cloudburst Causes Flooding, Aug 1959


Needles, Calif. (UPI) -- Four railroad section hands were missing today and hundreds of motorists marooned by a desert cloudburst that flushed out highways and bridges east and west of this Colorado River community.
Six members of a Sante Fe Railway road crew dispatched to check a rail washout 15 miles north of here Monday night were swept away by waves 10 to 15 feet high that overturned their truck.
Two of the men, identified by a railway dispatcher as track foreman GEORGE ASHMORE and GERONIMO RODRIGUEZ, later were found and taken to Needles Municipal Hospital. Extent of their injuries was not released but a hospital spokesman said they were getting along "just fine."
Santa Fe said the missing men were CHARLES SANCHEZ, FRANCIS X. YAZZI, BEN ELTHE, and FRED ATNE.
The dispatcher said the missing men possibly were drowned in the swirling floodwaters that flashed down desert canyons. Search crews began looking for the men at dawn.
Trains Are Rerouted.
East and westbound trains of the Santa Fe system were rerouted the stricken area because of bridge washouts and weakened structures.
An inch of rain fell in the area during the cloudburst.
Police said Highways 66 and 95 on both sides of the Colorado River were blocked and would remain closed for up to 12 hours while detours around the damaged bridges were made.

The Daily Inter Lake Kalispell Montana 1959-08-18



Needles, Calif. (UPI) -- Rescuers searched today for the feared fourth victim of a flash-flood which tossed autos off the highway like toys and stranded some 500 motorists for 12 hours.
Three bodies already have been found and the fourth is feared buried under several feet of sand carried by the churning 15-foot crests of water which roared down desert washes following a cloudburst.
The four men were part of a railroad crew of six workers whose truck was swept away by the flood as they drove to repair torn up track. The two other men escaped by clinging to a bridge.
Eight other persons also reported their cars were swept off U.S. Highway 66 and 95 by the flood, but all escaped injury. The two highways were impassable for up to 12 hours after the flash-flood struck late Monday and early Tuesday.
This Arizona-California border community was nearly isolated for awhile with sections of the highways and railroads in adjacent areas washed out.
Rail travel was rerouted around the area and was running up to 14 hours behind schedule.
Only one inch of rain was recorded in the three-hour storm which hit first in the mountains above the highway, but it sent an avalanche of water down the parched earth which dug up railroad tracks and highways and flowed through and area including Kingman, Ariz., to the east and Essex, Calif., to the west.
The same storm felled an estimated 100 telephone poles in the Las Vegas, Nev., area.
Some small businesses were flooded here but the water had run off by midday Tuesday.
Identity of the man sought and believed dead was FRED ATNE. The three victims recovered werer VEN ELTHE, FRANCIS YAZZI and CHARLES SANCHEZ.
SANCHEZ' body had been swept 12 miles by the torrent. The only parts of his clothing remaining on his body when he was found were his shoes and socks.

The Daily Inter Lake Kalispell Montana 1959-08-19


you are welcome

Thank you for your kind words and you are very welcome ..
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charlie sanchez

Hello, my name is Teresa, Charlie Sanchez is my grandfather, he died before i was born, I am his first grandchild, thank you for posting this article, I always heard he died in a flood but never new the whole story. Thank you Teresa Curiel