Authorities in Hinsdale County, Colo., are searching for a Kentwood, La., woman who was swept away in a mountain stream while traveling in the Rio Grande National Forest.
Tessie Strickland, 64, was traveling with her husband Tommy Strickland from Creede to Silverton, Colo., in a Jeep that lost power and was swept away while crossing Pole Creek on Forest Service Road 520, according to a press release from the Hinsdale County Office of Emergency Management.
Pole Creek empties into the Rio Grande after crossing Forest Service Road 520.
Strickland vanished in the stream on June 26, according to the press release.
Her husband told authorities she was swept downstream and disappeared after the couple attempted to jump to the bank of the river from their stalled Jeep, which was taking on water.
The Durango Herald newspaper reported that the couple had successfully crossed the stream earlier in the day but tragedy struck when they returned and the water level had risen due to snow melt.
“They were over there vacationing,” said Tammy Strickland of Osyka, who knows the couple. “It’s just a tragic story.”
The Durango Herald reported that the road is popular with Jeep and off-road vehicle enthusiasts and requires travelers to cross Pole Creek. That part of the road is now closed to traffic.
“That water pushed them right off the road,” Strickland said.
The search for Strickland continues in an eight-mile area downstream from where the accident occurred, Hinsdale County officials said.
Strickland’s community is anxiously awaiting word regarding her well-being.
“She’s got a lot of church family in Osyka,” Tammy Strickland said.