MOGOLLON, N.M. (KRQE) - Searchers are working the twisting mountain road below Mogollon looking for an Arizona man not seen since a flash flood ravaged the historic mining town on Saturday.
Howard Bassett, 83, had been evacuated from the Silver Creek Inn during the flood but apparently never returned, according to New Mexico State Police.
A clerk noticed Bassett's absence, notified New Mexico State Police and Bassett's family Monday night.
Bassett's granddaughter Katie Mead said he left to escape the pending flood waters.
"We were notified by the inn that the flash flood warning went off Saturday at 11 p.m." Mead said. " The innkeeper woke him up to let him know so he could get out."
Tuesday morning search-and-rescue teams were on the ground looking for Bassett. Wednesday State Police used its helicopter to cover even more ground.
Mead said the family has tried to call Bassett's cell phone, but it goes straight to voicemail.
"So we are not sure if he ever turned the phone on or if the phone was dead," Mead said.
The search is focused along State Road 159 connecting Mogollon to U.S. Highway 180 near Glenwood on U.S. Highway 180. Bassett may have been trying to reach Glenwood in his rust-colored Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck with Arizona license plates and a camper shell.
The state road was badly damaged in the flood leaving Mogollon isolated as emergency work attempts to open four-wheel-drive access to the community tucked into a narrow canyon at about 6,600 feet elevation in the Mogollon Mountains.
Bassett's daughter has joined the search arriving from Arizona Tuesday and now combing the town ravaged by flood waters.
"She's definitely a strong person," Mead said. " She just wants to find her dad."
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