By Associated Press
TONTO NATIONAL FOREST, Arizona — A flash flood barreled through a popular Arizona swimming hole where more than a hundred people were taking refuge from summer heat, killing at least seven people, leaving many more missing and forcing survivors to cling to trees in the rocky terrain, officials and a witness said.
At least eight died in this popular swimming hole in Arizona. (The Guardian)
Meteorologists had issued a flash-flood warning surrounding a popular swimming area inside the Tonto National Forest before the wave of water gushed through the narrow canyon on Saturday afternoon.
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 that 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.
There was no warning before the wall of water hit, Alexander said.
The deaths include at least one child. Four people rescued by helicopter Saturday were taken to the hospital for hypothermia.
The weather service estimates that up to 1.5 inch of rain fell over the area over an hour, and that the drainage took at least 30 minutes to reach the swimming hole. The thunderstorm hit about 8 miles upstream along Ellison Creek, which quickly flooded the narrow canyon where the swimmers were enjoying a cool dip a on a hot summer day, with highs in the 80s.
“They had no warning. They heard a roar, and it was on top of them,” Sattelmaier said.
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