Flash flood kills 9 destroyed properties

At least nine people have been killed in flash floods after monsoon-like rains swept through a swimming hole in the US state of Arizona, officials say.

Among those who died were children, including a two-year-old. One man is still missing, local media report.

More than 100 people were bathing in the area when the floodwaters hit with almost no warning.

The flash flood occurred at Cold Springs, near Payson, on Saturday, sweeping people down East Verde River.

Dozens were bathing in the East Verde river in Tonto National Forest, about 90m (145km) north of Phoenix, when the floodwaters hit following a torrential downpour upstream, said Sgt David Hornung from the Gila County sheriff’s office.

“A large family group was down by the river recreating… It’s a recreation area that a lot of people come up to – and the flash flood came through and washed 14 people away from the camp,” Sgt Hornung said.

“I’ve been with the Sheriff’s office for 13 years and this is the most severe flooding incident we’ve ever seen,” he added.

Video footage posted on social media shows muddy floodwaters gushing over rocks and through deep canyons.

The Payson Fire Department said that multiple forest fires in recent months had created piles of debris that burst down a creek and through the swimming hole.

However, it had not been raining in the area where people were swimming.

At least four people were rescued from the water by helicopter crews. They were treated for hypothermia and later released from hospital.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood alert for much of Arizona until Monday evening, with more storms expected in the middle of next week.

Source: BBC

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