Jul 17, 2017, 9:02 AM ET

9 members of single family killed in Arizona flash flood as search continues


A search and rescue operation resumed this morning after nine people from a single family, including several children, died and others went missing in a flash flood along the Verde River in Arizona on Saturday, according to the Gila County Sheriff's Department.

A large group of people was at the river, swimming in the area of the Cold Springs swimming hole in the town of Payson on Saturday afternoon when the flash flood hit, police said.

A 27-year-old man is still missing, according to the sheriff's department.

At least four people were rescued and airlifted to a hospital, police said.

Four bodies were recovered Saturday, and five were reportedly recovered Sunday. The deceased ranged in age from 2 to 60, and were all members of the same family.

The flooding followed a weather forecast by ABC News meteorologists predicting "monsoonal related thunderstorms" throughout the weekend in the Southwest.

The storm was violent and unleashed 6-foot-deep floodwaters, dark with ash from a summer wildfire, according to a report in the Associated Press.

The torrent carried along tree branches and other debris, the AP reported.

Payson "experienced heavy rain" before the flash flood, and search and rescue operations were initiated to find individuals reported missing, the sheriff's office said. Search operations remain underway for others who went missing during the flood, the office said.

Arizona is not out of the woods, by any means, when it comes to extreme weather conditions. A flash flood watch will be in effect for the southeastern part of the state until Monday evening, according to the National Weather Service.

Flash flood warnings are in effect for parts of Arizona this morning, including Nogales, Rio Rico and Patagonia, according to the NWS.

Thunderstorms are possible across portions of Arizona tonight and across other parts of the Southwest, according to ABC News meteorologists.

The expected thunderstorm activity will likely remain isolated to scattered in nature, but the storms that form will bring strong, gusty winds and torrential rain, which could trigger even more flash flooding in the region.

News - 9 members of single family killed in Arizona flash flood as search continues

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  • Dewey

    Prayers to the family this is a horrible time in there family history turn to God for comfort he is the only answer. I know from experience having lost my FATHER & MOTHER. In the flash flood in 1970 when 27 people lost their lives in Arizona.

  • Ka

    This is so sad..I am in AZ and my ex and the kids have been to this area. It is so popular this time of year. The kids were aged 2 5 and 7 and the Dad is still missing, presumed dead.
    There is video of the flash flood filling the river bed and it is FAST. It reminded me of the Tsunami in Thailand. It's my understanding the area was under as flash flood warning and the family should have known this...maybe they didn't know just how urgent it was and that it affected their area. I get notices on my phone of dust storms and flash flooding but the flash flooding doesn't really effect me much since I am not close to a bed or a wash. RIP to them.

  • flowerguy63

    How about some EMPATHY people. It is tragic no matter why, how or what could have been done differently on the part of the VICTIMS. NINE family members GONE all at once, think about it if it was YOUR family or friends. I today's climate, we choose to speculate, judge and criticize to much. We need to be more HUMAN.May love and support from others bring strenghth and comfort to this famiy and their friends.

  • carrollfamily

    just tragic.

  • dancer92136

    I just heard about this, and it is heartbreaking and so unfathomable. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family, and I only wish there was more I could do.

  • Sunshine1229

    I heard about this on the news Friday but I didn't know that all 9 victims were from the same family. My goodness! My heart goes out to the surviving family members. So, so sad.

  • Mike Kennedy

    I'm very sorry for the loss of life. Folks have to be aware this is the monsoon season in the southwest, and rains many miles upstream can result in sudden rushes of water without warning. My prayers and condolences following this terrible tragedy.

  • pangea 47

    When I lived in Az, I believe I visited that very spot. I saw a couple of flash floods, but since I respected weather conditions, and nature I was never "involved" in the flash floods except as a spectator. I am very sorry for the loss of life.

  • Irish Moon

    I feel really bad for these people. I live in AZ .I had a friend vist from Canada and she asked why do you have a bunch of bridges over nothing. I said that nothing becomes a river in no time. Hell my street floods if it rains hard and long enough. I've seen hugh green city trash can float down my street. As fast as it comes its gone in a few hours. Next day it may look like it never rained. I think the people that drive me crazy are the one who cross washes and place where clearly marked DO NOT CROSS WHEN FLOODED. So sad for these people they had no clue it was coming.

  • earl

    It's very sad, but it happens all the time. I was visiting AZ and we had a storm blaze threw (that's what they do, they blaze in and out) and it dumped lots of rain and moved on to another state. Campers who were on a dry bed out away from the city suddenly found themselves in a raging river that swept them, their trailers and others away. AZ dries up quickly and the low lands look nice and inviting for campers and hikers. A sudden storm and you have a raging river that vanishes by the next day.

  • MT Wallet

    People just don't pay attention. In Az. it can rain 100 miles away and bring flash floods in just minutes. Being that these people were locals, they should have known that.

  • Reed More

    Very sorry for those lost and condolences to their families.

    I was very fortunate that when I ventured out of the Phoenix/Scottsdale metro areas to do some sightseeing, locals shared the following advice: 1) Carry 3 gallons of water per person per day. 2) Have hats and long sleeves in case you need to be outside waiting for help 3) Carry maps - cell phones don't always work here 4) Always check the weather before you go anywhere - if rain is expected in the vicinity, do NOT drive through a wash (even if dry) or get near the rivers as walls of water can appear in seconds. At the time I thought they were being a bit over the top, but you hear about these tragedies so often.

  • beautifulnrich1

    How sad... how very very sad.