TONTO NATIONAL FOREST, Ariz. (CBSNEWS/AP) — Adults, teens and children as young as 2 were enjoying a summer afternoon by cooling off in an Arizona creek when the gentle waters turned deadly.
A Saturday storm unleashed 6-foot-high floodwaters, dark with ash from a summer wildfire, onto the unsuspecting family and friends visiting a Tonto National Forest swimming hole. The torrent carried away tree branches and other debris and left a wake of nine bodies.
Rescuers recovered the remains of five children and four adults. Their identities have not been released.
The Gila County Sheriff’s Office said nine bodies were recovered throughout the day Sunday and that a 27-year-old man is still missing.
Authorities planned to resume the search for the boy Monday using a helicopter as well as search dogs.
The flash-flooding hit Saturday afternoon at Cold Springs canyon, about 100 northeast of Phoenix, and some people were washed several miles downstream.
Four people were rescued by helicopter crews Saturday and were treated at a nearby hospital for hypothermia.
“It’s pretty much recovery [now]. We don’t believe there’s anybody left out there,” Water Wheel Fire and Medical District Fire Chief Ron Sattelmaier said. “They had no warning. They heard a roar, and it was on top of them.”
The National Weather Service estimated up to 1.5 inches of rain fell over the area in an hour.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)