Published: Tue, December 03, 2019

3 children are missing after flash flooding

3 children are missing after flash flooding

Authorities in central Arizona are searching for three children missing after a vehicle was swept away while attempting to cross a runoff-swollen creek amid unsafe, wintry weather that bedeviled drivers across large swaths of the western us over the Thanksgiving holiday.

By midday Saturday, the bodies of a girl and boy, both age 5, were found three miles downstream, said Sheriff's Lt. Virgil Dodd.

Rescue workers in helicopters successfully reached four other children and an adult who were stranded on an island in the creek and a second adult who was on the shore. Two of them were found dead later in the morning, and a search operation remains underway for the third missing child, according to the sheriff's office.

Authorities also continued to search Sunday for the 6-year-old girl, the only one of nine family members unaccounted for on Sunday. The creek crossing was marked as closed when they attempted to cross.

"We want to bring her home safely to her family", said Lt. Virgil Dodd of the Gila County Sheriff's Office.

Dodd says authorities are still hoping for a miracle. Two adults and a number of other children were rescued nearby on November 29.

The neighborhood became once within the distance for a family reunion at some level of the US Thanksgiving holiday, the KPNX news channel reported.

A flood warning was in effect for Gila County until 8:45 p.m. local time, according to the National Weather Service in Phoenix.

Officials on scene said crews are searching a span of four to five miles along the creek for the 6-year-old girl still missing.

Adverse conditions included thick weeds and slippery mud along the stream and ice water from the thaw, but authorities said they were hopeful.

Rescue personnel located the vehicle, described as a military-style truck, in the creek Friday night about 600 to 1,000 yards away from the crossing.

The region got up to 4 inches of rain about a week before, Benedict said. "So the grounds were already pretty wet and that probably helped with the runoff".

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