Flash flood near Payson claims seven lives - three people still missing

Image Credit MGN

Image Credit MGN

About nine people died while another one remains missing after the recent flash flood swept away a family in central Arizona.

Local media reported that at least two children were among the dead, and they were part of a large group of 14 people.

Search and rescue crews have recovered the bodies of six children, whose ages ranged from two to seventeen, and three adults since the swift waters overtook the swimming area in the Tonto National Forest over the weekend, Gila County Sheriff's Detective David Hornung told BuzzFeed News.

Footage recorded by Disa Alexander shortly after the flood showed a man in a tree holding his baby as water rushed around him. "We don't believe there's anybody left out there", said Medical District Fire chief Ron Sattelmaier.

A search and rescue mission is continuing for one missing family member by the Gila County Sheriff's Office, Tonto Rim Search and Rescue, Arizona Department of Public Safety Ranger Helicopter, Whispering Pines Fire Department and U.S. Forest Service.

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The flash-flooding hit on Saturday afternoon at Cold Springs canyon, northeast of Phoenix, and some people were washed several kilometres downstream.

The victims were enjoying the relatively cool temperatures north of Payson on a day trip, he said, adding that the area is a popular getaway for people from southern Arizona.

"They had no warning".

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said on Twitter that the state would assist in all ways possible. It happened during monsoon season, when weather like this can strike furiously. He and Alexander were hiking with friends when they were caught up in the flash flood near Payson. "We've just been lucky something like this hasn't been this tragic". A flash food warning was issued but without a radio, the group would not have known.

An intense thunderstorm sent water, mud, and debris rushing down a mountain into the river below flooding the narrow canyon.

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