At least 4 dead in flash floods at Arizona swimming hole

At least eight people have been killed in floodwaters at a swimming area in Tonto National Forest in the US

At least 4 dead in flash floods at Arizona swimming hole

At least nine people are dead and at least one missing after flash flooding swept away a family at a swimming hole in central Arizona.

The missing family member is a 27-year-old male, Hornung told CNN on Sunday.

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. The victims range in ages between 2 and 60, he said. They were taken to hospital with hypothermia, CNN affiliate KNXV reported.

Heavy rain was falling eight miles upstream from where they played, but it was apparently clear where they were.

The Gila County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call about a Search and Rescue Operation around the Cold Springs swimming hole, according to a statement.

The flash-flooding hit Saturday afternoon at Cold Springs canyon, about 100 miles northeast of Phoenix, a popular recreation area reached by relatively easy hiking paths.

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. Had they been swept downstream, they would have been sent over a 20-foot waterfall, Alexander said.

Authorities said the region had experienced heavy rains causing the flash floods.

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Video shot by Disa Alexander shot shortly after the flood showed a man in a tree holding his baby as water rushed around him.

The man's wife clung on to branches nearby.

It isn't the first time people have been killed when flash floods swept through so-called slot canyons, which are formed by the wear of water in rock and are typically significantly deeper than they are wide.

Two of the seven people found dead were children.

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

Matt Owsley, principal at Black Mountain Elementary school in Cave Creek posted on Facebook that Raya's son, Hector, was an incoming second grade student at his school, and "always one of the kindest little boys I have known". Sheriff's were able to rescue four of those fourteen members later that day, according to the Gila County Sheriff's Department. About a dozen other people remain unaccounted for.

There had been thunderstorms throughout the area near Payson, about an hour and half's drive from Phoenix, but it wasn't raining where the swimmers were at the time. It happened during monsoon season, when whether like this can strike furiously.

The flooding came after a severe thunderstorm pounded down on a nearby remote area that had been burned by a recent wildfire, Sattelmaier said.

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