High-water mystery: Two vehicles show up in South Platte River without explanation

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

DENVER -- Flooding along the South Platte River in Denver is creating a small flood of vehicles stuck in the water with four vehicles are sitting in the river. Two cars appeared after accidents in the past week, another two showed up without explanation Thursday morning.

“How does it happen?” said Ben Stopnitzky, who noticed a pickup in the river Thursday. “I don’t know.”

Not even investigators know what happened to the two vehicles that appeared in the river near Florida Avenue on Thursday.

“I was expecting to see high water," Thomas Topero said. "But not a car in the high water.”

“And there’s another car over there,” Stopnitzky said.

Denver Fire searched the vehicles and didn’t find any sign of passengers. Denver police are looking for the owners of the vehicles and explanations for what happened.

The four vehicles will remain in the water for the foreseeable future.

“We’re not going to try to remove these vehicles until the water has started to recede a bit,” Denver Fire Capt. Greg Pixley said.

And don’t expect that to happen soon. The Army Corps of Engineers has doubled the outflow at Chatfield Reservoir since last week because of rising waters.

Chatfield State Park is closed to traffic because much of it is under water, but that didn’t stop many people from coming out to see it for themselves.

“I just stopped to get some pictures because we’ve never seen the level this high before,” Joe Walters said.

Chatfield was 16 feet above it’s normal level on Thursday afternoon, a record level that continues to rise.

The level of concern at the reservoir isn’t nearly as high because it can still accept a lot more water. There is another 80 feet to go before water would hit the top of the dam. The reservoir is at just 14 percent of its flood capacity.

“That’s amazing, but they did build Chatfield for flood control so I’m sure that it would hold a lot of water if it had to,” Walters said.

Though both sights offer some interesting photos, safety officials have one request.

“We would ask that they do not try to get close,” Pixley said. “As we get this moisture at this level, we start to saturate the soils surrounding the river and it makes those soils unstable.”