Hikers rescued from trees after Arizona flash flood
A helicopter rescued hikers clinging to tree branches and perched on boulders as a flash flood tore through a normally quiet creek in Arizona, where unpredictable summer storms can rapidly wash churning torrents into canyons and trap those looking to take advantage of cooler weather after the rain.
Seventeen hikers, including a young child, were stranded Sunday in a scenic canyon on the outskirts of Tucson, just over a week after flood waters killed 10 members of an extended family more than 140 miles to the north.
In southern Arizona, two final hikers were lifted to safety Monday morning from Tanque Verde Falls after they spent the night stuck on the side of a cliff in a rocky, narrow canyon, authorities said.
One woman suffered minor leg injuries that did not require medical attention, officials said.
Brian Boll, incident commander from the Pima County Sheriff ’s Department, choked up recounting the rescue.
“When you see a 4-year-old on his dad’s back and you can’t get to them, it’s tough,” Boll said.
The rescue was a reminder of the dangers of flash flooding during Arizona’s monsoon, a weather phenomenon that brings powerful and unpredictable storms each summer with bursts of heavy rain that can quickly overwhelm usually calm waterways.
When rains ease triple-digit temperatures, people often go hiking, but that’s when the danger of flash flooding has skyrocketed, authorities said. On July 15, a family celebrating a birthday at a swimming hole in Arizona was swept away by a wall of water.