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Published On: Mon, Sep 16th, 2013

Colorado flooding death toll rises to 7 with over a thousand still ‘unaccounted for’ as National Guard members trapped

Officials report that seven people have now been killed by deadly flooding in Colorado, where efforts to locate more than 1,000 missing people were hampered by clouds that grounded search helicopters.

Fifteen Colorado National Guard members and other emergency workers were stranded Monday on high ground after rising floodwaters the day before forced them to abandon efforts to evacuate residents from flooded areas near Lyons, a National Guard spokeswoman said.

The troops and emergency workers are stuck there until the flooding recedes enough to allow them to drive out, or the weather clears so helicopters can come to rescue them, Colorado Air National Guard Master Sgt. Cheresa Theiral said.’

U.S. Army helicopters rescued civilians, as well as some troops and first responders, during a brief lull in the bad weather Sunday that has kept many choppers grounded, according to the National Guard.

FEMA was sending two 80-person search-and-rescue teams to assist with continuing rescues in Larimer County and providing aid to other communities following massive flooding that began Wednesday. Large military vehicles were attempting to get up the mountain roads, but the key component of the search effort, helicopter crews flying out of Boulder, were suspended early Monday.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that 16 or 17 helicopters were to resume searching for stranded residents Monday. Noting that many people have been without any kind of phone or Internet communications since the middle of last week, he says the focus of the effort is to make sure everyone in harm’s way gets “out of there.”

Hickenlooper says while the death toll is expected to rise, he’s hopeful that the vast majority of those people are “safe and sound.”

National Guardsmen respond to floods in Boulder County, Colo., Sept.12, 2013. The Guard is working with local agencies to help people in the area affected by the flooding by evacuating people using high-clearance vehicles. (Army National Guard Photo by Sgt. Joseph K. VonNida/Released)

National Guardsmen respond to floods in Boulder County, Colo., Sept.12, 2013. The Guard is working with local agencies to help people in the area affected by the flooding by evacuating people using high-clearance vehicles. (Army National Guard Photo by Sgt. Joseph K. VonNida/Released)

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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