Landslide danger ends search for 3 in Mesa County

(Photo: Courtesy of the Mesa County Sheriff's Office)
<p>A closer view of the area shows toppled trees and other debris displaced by the Sunday&#039;s slide in Mesa County.</p>

Authorities are watching for the possibility of another landslide in a remote part of Mesa County in western Colorado as dangerously unstable conditions led them to call off the search for three missing men.

Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey said the search eventually could resume, but it might not be safe enough to do so until summer.

The slide happened in a sparsely populated area near the town of Collbran, which is located about 40 miles east of Grand Junction. It is 3 miles long, about three-quarters of a mile across at its widest and several hundred feet deep at the center.

Colorado Geological Survey geologist Jonathan White says another slide seems inevitable because of a buildup of water in a depression created by the first big slide.

“Our biggest concern right now is that the entire slide did not go at the same time,” White says. “There is still a very large block of material up there that has pulled away from the head scar and it’s created a depression behind it.”

White said it was impossible to predict when the next slide would occur.

Officials are monitoring the slide with helicopters and drones.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.