Nine family members, including five children, killed in Arizona flash flood

A 27-year-old man is the only person still missing, officials say, and some 40 volunteers and four search dogs are still searching.
By Harry Marcolis | Oct 10, 2017
Three generations of family members were enjoying themselves at a swimming hole in Arizona on Saturday when a flash flood swallowed up nine of the 14 people gathered there, including five children.

Heavy rains in the mountains miles away from the swimming hole, which is located about 100 miles northeast of Phoenix in the Tonto National Forest, triggered floodwaters as high as six feet, a report by ABC News said.

A 27-year-old man is the only person still missing, officials say, and some 40 volunteers and four search dogs are still searching.

Dana Alexander, a hiker who was on her way to the swimming hole at the time the torrents of water started to surge, saw a man clinging to a tree and holding a baby. His wife also had sought refuge in a tree. When Alexander could not reach them, she summoned help, which happened to be nearby.

According to a National Weather Service estimate, up to 1.5 inches of rain fell over the mountains in as little as an hour. The agency had issued a flash flood warning about one-and-a-half hours before the family was swept up, "but unless they had a weather radio out there, they wouldn't have known about it. There is no cellphone service out here," an official said.

The torrential thunderstorm occurred in a region that is scarred by a recent wildfire.

"If it's an intense burn, it creates a glaze on the surface that just repels water," said meteorologist David McCollum, in the ABC News report.

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