9 drown in flash flood

New York Post - - NEWS - By SALLY HO

Nine peo­ple, in­clud­ing five chil­dren, were killed and a 13-year-old boy was miss­ing af­ter a fu­ri­ous flash flood tore through a group of rel­a­tives and friends cool­ing off in a creek in the Tonto Na­tional For­est in Ari­zona.

The group, from the Phoenix and Flagstaff ar­eas, had met up for a daytrip to the pop­u­lar Cold Springs swim­ming hole near Payson and was play­ing in the creek Satur­day af­ter­noon when muddy flood­wa­ters came roar­ing down the canyon, Gila County sher­iff ’s De­tec­tive David Hor­nung said.

They had set out chairs on a hot sum­mer day when, miles up­stream, an in­tense thun­der­storm dumped heavy rain­fall on the moun­tain.

Search-and- res­cue crews, in­clud­ing 40 peo­ple on foot and oth­ers in a he­li­copter, re­cov­ered the bod­ies of five chil­dren and four adults.

The vic­tims ranged in age from a 60-year-old woman to a 2-year-old girl. Author­i­ties did not iden­tify them.

Four oth­ers were res­cued and taken to Ban­ner Hos­pi­tal in Payson for treat­ment for hy­pother­mia. Res­cuers got to the sur­vivors quickly af­ter the crew heard their cries while help­ing an in­jured hiker.

Hor­nung said the treach­er­ously swift waters gushed for about 10 min­utes be­fore re­ced­ing in the nar­row canyon. He es­ti­mated flood­wa­ters reached 6 feet high and 40 feet wide.

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