9 dead, including 2-year-old, after flash flooding in Arizona, authorities say

Last Updated Jul 16, 2017 10:53 PM EDT

PAYSON, Ariz. — At least nine people are dead and one person missing after a flash flood hit an Arizona swimming hole on Saturday afternoon, CBS affiliate KPHO-TV in Phoenix reports.

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.

Agencies have suspended the search until early Monday morning.

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.”

Muddy floodwaters of the East Verde River flow under a bridge where one victim of the flash flood was found during a search and rescue operation on July 16, 2017, in Payson, Ariz.

Ralph Freso/AP

Disa Alexander was hiking to the swimming area where Ellison Creek and East Verde River converge when the storm hit and the water suddenly surged. She was still about 2.5 miles away when she came up a man holding a baby and clinging to a tree. His wife was nearby, also in a tree.

Alexander and others tried to reach them but couldn’t. Rescuers arrived a short time later.

“We were kinda looking at the water; it was really brown,” she said. “Literally 20 seconds later you just see, like hundreds of gallons of water smacking down and debris and trees getting pulled in. It looked like a really big mudslide.”

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

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