7 family members dead, 3 missing in Arizona flash flooding

July 16 (UPI) — Seven family members died and another three are missing after being swept away in flash flooding in central Arizona, authorities said Sunday.

Four other family members were rescued from the Cold Springs Swimming Hole north of Payson, the Gila County Sheriff’s Office said. Payson is 88 miles north of Phoenix.

Deputies said they received a 911 call at 3:19 p.m. Saturday about people missing.

Four bodies were initially found, the sheriff’s office posted on Facebook on Sunday morning.

The victims range in ages from 24 months to the late 60’s, the sheriff’s office said.

A search and rescue mission is underway for the missing family members by the Gila County Sheriff’s Office, Tonto Rim Search and Rescue, Arizona Department of Public Safety Ranger Helicopter, Whispering Pines Fire Department and U.S. Forest Service.

On Sunday, the National Weather Service in Tucson issued a flash flood watch for much of Arizona, including the greater Phoenix area. Rainfall in excess of 2 inches is forecast, resulting in flooded roadways and in normally dry washes, the NWS said. Wind gusts in excess of 60 mph are possible, including blowing dust.


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