ROSCOE, N.Y. – Searchers found the body of an 81-year-old man and were searching for as many as six other people still missing Thursday after flash floods surged through the edge of the Catskill Mountains.
Troopers, rangers, National Guard members and firefighters combed through acres of washed-away homes, uprooted trees and mud-covered roads in rural Delaware County.
"It's a massive state effort," said Dennis Michalski of the State Emergency Management Office. "The key thing right now is search and rescue."
The woodsy area 100 miles northwest of New York City was deluged with up to eight inches of rain in two hours Tuesday night. Residents described a wall of water smashing through the rural hamlets.
"It was bringing trees, roots, stones, whatever it could catch," said resident Susanna Erdos.
Len Govern, a Delaware County emergency official, said the water came so fast it ripped houses off their foundations.
Searchers found the first victim, 81-year-old Fred Shutts, Wednesday afternoon, State Police Capt. Rodney Campbell confirmed. He said Shutts lived in the hard-hit town of Colchester.
State police said searchers were looking for "several" more residents and people who may have been traveling through the area. They declined to be more specific because the number of missing had fluctuated since the storm.
Michalski said searchers were looking for as many as six people.