Flash flood near Payson claims seven lives - three people still missing

The aftermath of a deadly flash flood in Pays

The aftermath of a deadly flash flood in Pays

Nine people are dead and two are still missing after flash floods swept away swimmers at a popular Arizona swimming hole on Saturday.

More than 100 people were thought to have been at the Cold Springs Swimming Hole in Tonto National Forest when the flood struck on Saturday afternoon.

Los Angeles Times reports that it was a warm summer day in Arizona and the group had made preparations to enjoy the cool surroundings when a severe thunderstorm happened in a nearby area and it dumped heavy rainfall on the mountain.

Officials were able to pull four people from the water on Saturday, but authorities are still looking for a 26-year-old male after suspending search and rescue efforts late Sunday night due to treacherous conditions, Hornung said.

The children who died ranged in age from 2 to 17 and the adults from 24 to 60, Hornung said.

Four other people were rescued and taken to hospitals on Saturday, Hornung said, after the office received an emergency call around 3 p.m.

The "burn scar" was one of the reasons the weather service issued the flash-flood warning. He and other members were out signing trails close to Ellison Creek, about three miles from the watering hole, when the storm hit.

"They had no warning", Sattelmaier told the Associated Press.

A husband and wife from California were killed in September 2008 when they were trapped in a flash flood while hiking in a slot canyon in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in Utah. It is about 20 feet wide and 20 feet long with a waterfall above it.

Members of the Tonto Rim Search and Rescue team search for victims of a flash flood on Sun., July 16, 2017, in Payson, Ariz.

"It was kind of frightening to have that feeling in the back of your head, there could be people out here needing to be saved and not much you can do about it", Alexander said.

"It was just a panic moment after we see the water coming down", she said. Visitors are reminded to be vigilant about the weather, he said. "We had some concerns". Sudden flooding in canyons has been deadly before.