Authorities in Arizona are searching for a missing boy today after a flash flood tore through a popular swimming spot over the weekend, killing nine people, including children.
An intense thunderstorm sent water, mud, and debris rushing down a mountain into the river below flooding the narrow canyon.
It surprised a group that had set up lounge chairs and prepared for a day of swimming in Ellison Creek.
“They had no warning. They heard a roar, and it was on top of them,” Water Wheel Fire and Medical District Fire Chief Ron Sattelmaier said.
The storm unleashed 6-foot-high floodwaters, darkened with ash from a summer wildfire, onto the unsuspecting family and friends.
The National Weather Service estimated up to 1.5 inches of rain fell over the area in an hour.
Disa Alexander was hiking to the swimming area when the water from Ellison Creek and East Verde River converged.
She posted a video to social media showing the powerful water.
“I could have just died!” Disa exclaimed on the video.
Disa spotted a man holding a baby and clinging to a tree, according to the Associated Press. His wife was also in a tree nearby. She pointed out a boy, who she described as the couple’s son. He was stranded on the rocks above the water.
Rescuers, including 40 people on foot and in helicopters, recovered the bodies of five children and four adults and will continue searching for a missing teenage boy today.