Six out of nine casualties, members of a Phoenix-area family, are children between the ages 2 and 14 and one is still missing, after a flash food struck a swimming hole in central Arizona Saturday, according to The Washington Post.
The victims included (all were from Phoenix):
– Maria Raya, who would have turned 26 on Sunday, and her children Emily, 3, and Mia, 5, and Hector Daniel, 7.
– Maria’s sister Maribel Raya, 24, her daughter Erika Raya, 2, and Maribel’s brother Javier Raya, 14.
– Selia Garcia, 60, the mother of Maria, Maribel and Javier.
– Jonathan Leon, 13, Selia Garcia’s grandson.
Maria Raya’s husband, Hector Miguel Garnica, is missing. The search for Garnica was set to resume Monday.
Four other family members, a married couple and their two children, were treated at a local hospital for hypothermia and were released.
“It’s pretty much recovery (now). We don’t believe there’s anybody left out there,“ said Medical District Fire Chief Ron Sattelmaier.
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Trent Shue, a volunteer with the Tonto Recreation Alliance, was about three miles from the swimming hole when the storm hit Saturday.
“In a short period of time, the creek along the side of the road started to get exceptionally heavy. We could hear the roaring of the flash flood in the distance, and it was something to behold. We made sure to stay far ahead of the rushing water, and finally found a safe spot where we could wait it out,” Shue said.
“It wasn’t even raining where these people were at. The flash flood came from above them,” explained Sgt. David Hornung of the Gila County Sheriff’s Office Sunday about how the family had no warning about the flood.
“The people who were down there probably didn’t have cellphone service. There was no real way to warn them about the possibility of a flash flood,“ he said.
Although 14 people were first reported missing, four were rescued Saturday, Hornung said.
“… they heard people yelling for help, and they went down to the river and found them. Had they not been there, it probably would have been an hour before any search-and-rescue got there,” explained Hornung how they “had luck” because a search-and-rescue team was in the area by chance.