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AKIPRESS.COM - Nine people were dead, including six children, and one man was missing after a flash flood roared through a popular Arizona swimming hole on Saturday afternoon, U.S. media report.
The deadly incident at the Cold Springs swimming hole in Tonto National Forest followed heavy rains that had spurred thunderstorm and flash flood warnings from the National Weather Service in areas scarred by a recent wildfire, LA Times reported.
Officials suspended their search Sunday evening but were expected to resume on Monday.
The Gila County Sheriff’s Office first received a 911 call about a search-and-rescue operation at the swimming hole about 3:20 p.m. Saturday, according to the department’s website.
Sheriff’s Sgt. David Hornung said Sunday that the dead were members of a family that had gathered together for the day.
“From what I understand, they were brothers and sisters and nephews and cousins. It was a big group of people out there enjoying swimming in the river and playing in the water,” he said.
The children who died ranged in age from 2 to 17 and the adults from 24 to 60, Hornung said.
The victims, he said, were probably caught without warning by the flood.
“It wasn’t even raining where these people were at,” he said. “The flash flood came from above them.”