Colorado floodwaters sweep away teenage girl; second victim in five days

DENVER Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:43pm EDT

1 of 4. A street is cleaned up a day after a flash flood from the Waldo Canyon Fire burn scar swept through Manitou Springs, August 10, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Evan Semon

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DENVER (Reuters) - A 17-year-old Colorado girl became the second fatality in five days in the Pikes Peak region when she was swept down a swollen creek after apparently taking shelter under a bridge from rain and pounding hail, police said on Tuesday.

Rose Hammes had gone for a walk on Monday afternoon, and called her parents to say she was taking shelter under the bridge, Colorado Springs police said in a statement. When her parents could not reach the girl on her cell phone, they called police.

Search and rescue crews searched the area downstream and hours later found her body in a canal off Sand Creek, about a half-mile from where she was last seen, police spokeswoman Barbara Miller said.

Hammes is the second person to die from rising waters and flooding as daily monsoonal rains have saturated the area for more than a week. The El Paso County Coroner's Office ruled she died from blunt force trauma and drowning.

Her death came after a 53-year-old man drowned on Friday when heavy rains sent a wall of water and debris down a canyon denuded by a 2012 wildfire and onto a highway. His body was found covered with debris outside his vehicle along the road.

The debris flow from that flash flood roared into the town of Manitou Springs, about 6-1/2 miles west of Colorado Springs at the foot of Pikes Peak, the mountaintop whose panoramic summit vistas inspired the song "America the Beautiful."

More than 30 buildings in the downtown area were damaged or destroyed.

Three other people initially reported missing after the Manitou Springs flood, including a woman seen clinging to a tree along the banks of a rising creek, have all been accounted for, authorities said.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)

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