Flash floods kills nine

July 17, 2017 12:00
Flash floods kills nine

Nine people were killed, including five children, as a flash flood swept away the unsuspecting family and friends at a popular swimming hole in Arizona. A desperate search is underway for a missing teen.

Search and rescue crews, includes 40 people on foot and others in a helicopter, recovered the bodies of five children – some as young as two – and four adults some as far as two miles away. A 13-year-old boy was still missing as of early Monday. None of the victims were identified.

The group from the Phoenix and Flagstaff areas had met on Saturday for a day trip at a swimming hole near Payson, about 100 miles northeast of the capital. The intense thunderstorm caught everyone by surprise, unleashing 6-foot-high floodwaters mixed with trees and other debris onto the group.

The National Weather Service estimated 1.5 inches of rain fell over the area in an hour. The storm hit about 8 miles upstream along Ellison Creek, which quickly flooded the canyon where the swimmers were.

Gila County Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. David Hornug said that the National Weather Service had issued a flash flood warning about 1 1/2 hours before, "but unless they had a weather radio out there, they wouldn't have known about it. There is no cell phone service out here."

"They had no warning. They heard a roar, and it was on top of them," Water Wheel Fire and Medical District Fire Chief Ron Sattelmaier said.

By Premji

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