BREAKING: Nine Dead, One Missing After Arizona Flash Flood

Nine members of a Phoenix-area family are dead and one is missing after a flash flood struck a swimming hole in central Arizona Saturday. Six children between the ages of 2 and 14 are among the dead, according to The Washington Post.

The family of Maria Raya had come to the Cold Springs swimming hole in the Tonto National Forest to celebrate her 26th birthday. Raya and her three children were all killed. Her husband, Hector Miguel Garnica, is missing. Also killed were Raya’s sister and her daughter, as well as three other family members.

The search for Garnica was set to resume Monday.

Medical District Fire Chief Ron Sattelmaier said it was difficult to know how many people were present when the flood hit.

“It’s pretty much recovery (now). We don’t believe there’s anybody left out there,” Sattelmaier said.

Trent Shue, a volunteer with the Tonto Recreation Alliance, was about three miles from the swimming hole when the storm hit Saturday.

“In a short period of time, the creek along the side of the road started to get exceptionally heavy,” Shue said. “We could hear the roaring of the flash flood in the distance, and it was something to behold. We made sure to stay far ahead of the rushing water, and finally found a safe spot where we could wait it out.”

Sgt. David Hornung of the Gila County Sheriff’s Office said Sunday that the family had no warning about the flood.

“It wasn’t even raining where these people were at,” he said. “The flash flood came from above them.”

“The people who were down there probably didn’t have cellphone service. There was no real way to warn them about the possibility of a flash flood,” he said.

Although 14 people were first reported missing, four were rescued Saturday, Hornung said.

He said a search-and-rescue team was in the area by chance when the flood hit.

“… they heard people yelling for help, and they went down to the river and found them,” Hornung said. “Had they not been there, it probably would have been an hour before any search-and-rescue got there.”

LisaMarie Zamora of Payson said she was hiking with her husband in the forest late Saturday afternoon when the flood hit.

“We saw debris in the water and then all of a sudden it was like someone released a dam,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “It just engulfed the whole road we were on. … There were sandals, bottles, food, all of it going downriver.”

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Source: Nine Dead, One Missing After Arizona Flash Flood

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