At least nine dead following flash flood in Arizona

Elias Hubbard
July 18, 2017

Additional crews from around Arizona are expected to join in the search for a 27-year-old man still missing after a flash flood in central Arizona.

"He has to be found, they can't stop looking until he is found", his sister, Carla Garnica, told ABC affiliate KNXV-TV on Tuesday.

"We had a strong thunderstorm with strong rains move through the area, which created a flash flood problem", said Sgt. David Hornung of the Gila County Sheriff's Office.

"We had no idea how fast and big it was going to be", Muller said.

The search was cut short Monday due to weather conditions. Five of the dead were children.

Other areas at high risk for flash flooding include locations near the steep slopes of Mount Elden and the San Francisco Peaks, any of the dry washes around the Sedona area, the slot canyons around Lake Powell, Moenkopi Wash between Tuba City and Keams Canyon and Bright Angel Creek in the Grand Canyon, Klimowski said.

Hector Garnica's cousin, Iris Garnica, said the entire situation feels like a bad dream. Authorities hadn't announced any leads as of early Tuesday morning, but Hector Garnica's family said they are optimistic.

Mandujano says it's hard to accept that so many members of the family are dead, and that it feels like a lie. "Literally 20 seconds later you just see like hundreds of gallons of water smacking down and debris and trees getting pulled in".

The National Weather Service did issue a flash flood warning for the area about an hour and a half before the wall of water hit the Cold Springs swimming hole.

Hornung said there was no way to notify people of the flash-flood warning because cell service is limited and there are no officials stationed in the area.

A teen who was stranded by deadly flash flooding in Arizona says she can't get the roar of the rushing water out of her head.

"We're all just saying that we got blessed, but I don't like to use that word because other families weren't blessed", Coto said. She, her boyfriend and his family had to wait for the floodwater to recede before they could leave.

At least nine people from the same family were killed. Several others had to be rescued, including a man clinging to a tree with his baby and his wife nearby.

Members of the Tonto Rim Search and Rescue team exit a section of forest after searching along the banks of the East Verde River for victims of a flash flood, Sunday, July 16, 2017, in Payson, Ariz. Crews were searching the area for Garnica, the only person who remains missing.

The Gila County Sheriff's Office also provided the names of four people who were rescued from the floodwaters Saturday at the Tonto National Forest.

The trip turned deadly when Garnica's wife, Maria Garnica, and their three children, Danny, 7, Mia, 5, and Emily, 3, were carried away and killed in the flood.

Three generations of the family were gathered Saturday at the swimming spot about 100 miles (160.9 kilometers) northeast of Phoenix, police said.

Five bodies were recovered from the river on Sunday, a day after the floods.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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