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Arizona swimming hole flash flood: 8 dead, 2 missing

Arizona swimming hole flash flood: 8 dead, 2 missing

After finding nine bodies near Water Wheel Sunday, police have suspended their search for a final missing person tonight.

Gila County Sheriff's Detective David Hornung told The Associated Press that the victims were part of a group of family and friends from Phoenix and Flagstaff that were visiting the popular Cold Springs swimming hole. The victims ranged in age from a 60-year-old woman to a 2-year-old girl.

Emergency responders rescued four people Saturday south of the Cold Springs swimming hole where the group had been swimming, including a man clutching a baby.

Hornung said most members of the group were from the Phoenix area, which, along with the rest of southern Arizona, has experienced inordinately hot temperatures this summer.

Officials were able to pull four people from the water on Saturday, but authorities are still looking for a 26-year-old male after suspending search and rescue efforts late Sunday night due to treacherous conditions, Hornung said.

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"From what I understand, they were brothers and sisters and nephews and cousins". He said, luckily, a search and rescue team was already in the area helping a hiker in distress.

Meteorologists had issued a Flash Flood Warning surrounding a popular swimming area inside the Tonto National Forest before the water gushed into the narrow canyon.

At least nine people were drowned after a flash flood struck swimmers in an Arizona national forest area in U.S., while one teenager remains unaccounted for.

Almost an inch of rain is believed to have fallen between 1:15 p.m. and 3:55 p.m. local time on Saturday, according to the Automated Weather Observation Station in Payson, just south of the swimming hole.

Water Wheel Fire and Medical District Fire Chief Ron Sattelmaier said the flood was sparked by a severe thunderstorm in a remote area that had been burned by a recent wildfire. He estimated the floodwaters were traveling at around 35 miles per hour. It happened during monsoon season, when weather like this can strike furiously. "It's later that we have our moments", he said. Numerous roads and trails had already flooded and were closed.


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