Flash Flood Kills 9, Mostly Kids, at Arizona Swimming Hole; Man Missing

At least eight people have been killed in floodwaters at a swimming area in Tonto National Forest in the US

At least eight people have been killed in floodwaters at a swimming area in Tonto National Forest in the US

But officials warn that visitors need to be aware of the dangers of a flash flood.

Mr Hornung noted that the National Weather Service had issued a flash flood warning about one and a half hours before, "but unless they had a weather radio out there, they wouldn't have known about it".

"They had no warning. They heard a roar and it was on top of them", Sattelmaier said.

GCSO received a 9-1-1 call regarding a search and rescue operation around the swimming hole. Among the dead were two children, Hornung said. Four people were rescued on Saturday and those injured have since been released from the hospital, Hornung said.

Three generations of the family were gathered Saturday at the swimming spot about 100 miles (160.9 kilometers) northeast of Phoenix, police said.

CNN affiliate KNXV in Phoenix tweeted a photo showing the conditions in the area. A boy Alexander described as the couple's son was on the rocks above the water. It is just upstream on Ellison Creek from Water Wheel, a larger area. Relatives convened at the canyon to scour the waters for missing relatives into the early hours the next morning.

But it's hard to know what's happening upstream. But once a monsoon comes, a dried up canyon "can turn into a raging torrent that can sweep anybody away". He said he came from Phoenix after getting a Snapchat message from a friend.

Sattlemaier added that they could not know how many people had actually been at the swimming hole at the time of the incident but that now it was "pretty much recovery".

Gov. Doug Ducey said on Twitter that the state would assist in all ways possible.

"My deepest prayers go out for all those lost in yesterday's flooding, for their families, and for the entire community".

Trent Shue is a volunteer with the Tonto Recreation Alliance.

"In a short period of time, the creek along the side of the road started to get exceptionally heavy", Shue said.

Arizona's long periods of sustained, dry heat also likely made the rush of water significantly more unsafe as it traveled downstream to the area of the sinkhole, according to Golembo. As they turned to look upstream, they saw a massive wall of dark muddy water rushing toward them, carrying tree trunks and logs the sizes of vehicles, Ron Sattelmaier, Water Wheel Fire and Medical District Fire Chief, told The Washington Post, citing interviews with witnesses.

"It's monsoon season in Arizona and these storms build quickly and dump a lot of moisture", Hornung explained.

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