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The Latest: 9 dead, 1 still missing in Arizona flash flood

July 17, 2017
Associated Press

TONTO NATIONAL FOREST, Ariz. (AP) — The Latest on deadly flash flooding in a national forest in Arizona (all times local):

4:45 p.m.

Authorities say they have found nine bodies and are only looking for one more person among a group who got swept up in a furious flash flood in the Tonto National Forest in Arizona.

Gila County Sheriff's Detective David Hornung told The Associated Press that all of the victims were among a group of 14 family and friends from the Phoenix and Flagstaff areas who had met up for a daytrip along the popular Cold Springs swimming hole.

A 13-year-old boy remains missing.

The search and rescue crews, including 40 people on foot and others in a helicopter, have recovered the bodies of five children and four adults.

They ranged in age from a 60-year-old woman to a 2-year-old girl.

Four people rescued Saturday were taken to the hospital.

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3 p.m.

The number of people confirmed dead from a flash flood at a popular Arizona swimming hole is now at eight.

Gila County Sheriff J. Adam Shepherd said in a release that the eight bodies were recovered as crews continue to search for the people still unaccounted for in the Tonto National Forest.

Authorities have estimated that more than a hundred people were in or near the Cold Springs Swimming Hole Saturday afternoon when a severe thunderstorm pounded down on a nearby remote area that had been burned by a recent wildfire.

The popular but unofficial cooling spot is also known as the Ellison Creek or Water Wheel swimming holes, and it is accessible through several hiking trails.

It's about 20 feet wide and 20 feet long with a waterfall above it.

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2 p.m.

An Arizona sheriff says at least seven people have died in flash flooding at a popular swimming hole.

Gila County Sheriff J. Adam Shepherd said crews are still searching for others who are missing after a wall of water swept through the area inside Tonto National Forest.

Water Wheel Fire and Medical District Fire Chief Ron Sattelmaier said more than a hundred people were in the Cold Springs Swimming Hole on Saturday afternoon when a severe thunderstorm pounded down on a nearby remote area that had been burned by a recent wildfire.

A woman who was hiking to the swimming hole said she saw people clinging to trees after the water rushed down a normally calm creek near the trail.

Video Disa Alexander shot shortly after the flood showed a man in a tree holding his baby as water rushed around him. His wife was a short ways away from him, also clinging to a tree.

Alexander says there was no warning before the wall of water hit.

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12 p.m.

A rural fire chief says at least four people were found dead and about a dozen more are missing after flash flooding poured over a popular swimming area inside the Tonto National Forest in central Arizona.

Water Wheel Fire and Medical District Fire Chief Ron Sattelmaier said more than a hundred people were in the Cold Springs Swimming Hole Saturday afternoon when a severe thunderstorm pounded down on a nearby remote area that had been burned over by a recent wildfire.

Three bodies were recovered Saturday and another was found Sunday morning. The deaths include at least one child.

Four people rescued by helicopter Saturday were taken to the hospital for hypothermia.

About a dozen other people remain unaccounted for.

This happened about an hour and half's drive from Phoenix.

 
 

 

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