Bear Creek Canyon, CO Terrible Flash Flooding, July 1933
COLORADO FLOOD BODIES IDENTIFIED; 30 FEARED DEAD.
CLOUDBURST SENDS 10-FOOT WALL OF WATER DOWN MOUNTAIN CANYON.
MANY TOURISTS MISSING IN SPECTACULAR TRAGEDY.
TWO BEAR CREEK TOWNS BEAR BRUNT OF DISASTER; SIX MILES SWEPT.
Morrison, Colo., July 8. (UPS) -- Three of the four bodies thus far found by searchers hunting twenty or thirty persons missing after a disastrous flood in Bear Creek Canyon yesterday were identified today.
MRS. VINCENT SODERMAN, 38, of Denver.
BUDDY CORDI, 12, of Starbuck.
W. L. (JACK) BURRON, about 50, of Starbuck, a hamburger stand operator, who died in an attempt to save BUDDY CORDI and his brother, 14.
The fourth body recovered was that of a young man, presumably about 20 years old. It was badly battered, and the features were mangled, making identification difficult.
At least four others were believed dead and still others had not been accounted for by the searching parties late today which were making a careful check of all persons known to have been in the canyon when a mountain cloudburst sent a torrent of death down it.
Those missing and believed dead included:
BEN CORDI, 14, brother of BUDDY.
EUNICE SODERMAN, 4, daughter of MRS. SODERMAN.
MISS MARIETTA McINTYRE, 20, of Denver.
VERL VANDENBURG, 19, of Denver.
In addition the searching parties, numbering 200 or more men, which searched the creek banks, faced the possibility that several tourists known to have been in the canyon might have drowned.
There were nine abandoned cars along the canyon road, some of them bearing out-of-state licenses. Whether occupants of these cars escaped could not be determined pending a long and difficult check.
A ten-foot wall of water rushed down the canyon after a tempestious mountain cloudburst and swept resort cabins, tourist automobiles and even business buildings of two small towns before it.
Searching parties worked throughout the night in the flickering light on lanterns and torches.
Reports from Starbuck, which, with Morrison, bore the brunt, said at least six persons were missing there.
In addition there a check was still to be made of the occupants of the many cabins along the six-mile stretch of canyon between Starbuck and Morrison.
The flood was caused by a typical mountain cloudburst that came suddenly during a day of sunshine and soft breezes.
Flying above the canyon as the storm struck, a reporter saw a black cloud dumping a terrific volume of water upon the mountain slopes which converged into Bear Creek, ordinarily a small trout brook. Immediately it swept out of its banks, covered the canyon road to a depth of ten to twenty feet, snapped telephone and electric light poles and hurled automobiles about like straws.
Along that six-mile stretch some dozen motorists were driving when the flood struck. Of these only one automobile load was accounted for, and two of its occupants were listed among the missing. In
that car were VINCENT SODERMAN, his wife, SYLVIA; their baby daughter, and MRS. LIBERTY
JACKSON, of Los Angeles and her son, BILLY, 11.
"We rounded a curve," said the sobbing, shaken SODERMAN, "and saw a ten-foot wall of water bearing down upon us."
"The roar of the flood was like that of an avalanche. It swept down the canyon at terrific speed."
"As it struck the car the force of it whirled the machine against the canyon wall. We all went out on the downstream side, and the swirling water caught up with us."
"I grabbed my wife and daughter and sought to reach the higher ground. I clung to them desperately, but the flood tossed us all against a tree and they were torn from my grasp."
Not a house in Starbuck, a village of about 150 population, was left untouched.
At Morrison, half the town was wiped away.
The flood receded as quickly as it came, leaving great piles of debris. It was not until early today that the power station was repaired and resumed operations. The water plant was wrecked and drinking water was brought in milk cans from Red Rocks Park five miles away.
A similar flood in 1896 took a toll of twenty-eight lives.
The Fresno Bee Republican California 1933-07-08
RESCUERS FLEE WHEN SECOND STORM BREAKS.
ADDITIONAL DAMAGE DONE TO ORCHARDS; NO MORE KNOWN DEAD.
Denver, July 8. -- (AP) -- A new flood swept down Bear Creek canyon late today and sent 200 searchers, hunting for bodies of victims of similar high water yesterday, scurrying to mountainsides and safety.
Some additional damage was reported done by the new storm but it did not reach the proportions of yesterday's flood. Most of the additional loss was to roads above Idledale, an area that was not seriously damaged yesterday.
The storm today swept down from Cub and Timber
Creeks and raced through the 18-mile Bear Creek canyon. The wall of water was about five feet high.
Authorities said they did not believe anyone was caught by the storm, but several had narrow escapes.
One of these was W. A. VICKERS, Idledale filling station operator, who almost lost his life yesterday. He was standing near the creek bank, watching the rising water, when he heard the roar of the flood and ran to higher ground barely in time to escape.
Seven persons were listed as dead tonight in yesterday's rampage and property damage was estimated by officials at not to exceed $250,000. Three bodies were recovered.
The first bodies recovered in Bear Creek Canyon where a 20-foot wall of water roaring down the narrow gorge inundated Morrison and Idledale, mountain resorts, were those of MRS. SYLVIA SODERMAN of Denver, an unidentified man about 50 years old and RAYMOND CONDE, 12, of Denver.
Missing and regarded as virtually certain to have perished, are LEONARD CONDE, 14, brother of RAYMOND; EUNICE SODERMAN, 4, daughter of the dead woman; JACK BURTON of Morrison, and MARIETTA McINTYRE, 20, of Denver.
Scores of survivors told of narrow escapes in the canyon. Capt. and MRS. LIVINGSTON SWETZEL of New York and MRS. ELIZABETH PHILLIPS of Omaha, a guest at their summer camp, had left for Denver a short time before the storm broke. When they returned today their camp was a pile of debris.
Another cloudburst that deluged eastern Colorado washed out several miles of railroad tracks and covered transcontinental highway No. 40 with water. Sharon Springs and Red Eye, Colo., were flooded.
VICTOR HAAG, of Hugo saved himself, his wife and her sister, MRS. PRENTISS HOWARD of Leavenworth, Kas., after their auto had been washed off the highway into a ditch by crawling through a window of the car and kicking a hole in the top so the two women could climb out. They waited on top of the car for several hours until a motorist passed and threw a rope to them.
A cloudburst hit northern Colorado near Wellington
and washed out several hundred feet of natural gas pipeline, cutting of gas service in Cheyenne, Wyo. Colorado and Southern railroad trains had to be re-routed because of track and bridge washouts.
On the western slope of the Rocky Mountains cloudbursts caused considerable damage to the peach orchards near Grand Junction and washed out roads in the Uncompaghre and Unaweep valleys.
The Bear Creek canyon cloudburst washed out four miles ofmountain roads and five bridges and JOHN STAMM, state highway department superintendent, said the replacement cost would be around $200,000.
I. J. Schnar, red cross official, and volunteers were distributing food and clothing in the damaged mountain resorts and arranging for temporary housing of the refugees. Dozens of injuries were given first aid treatment.
Ogden Standard-Examiner Utah 1933-07-09