8 Swimmers Confirmed Dead & More Missing After Flash Flood Hits Popular Arizona Swimming Hole

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At least 8 people have been confirmed to have been killed by a flash flood at the very popular Cold Springs Swimming Hole in Payson, Arizona on Saturday, according to the Gila County, AZ Sheriff’s Office.  More swimmers are currently missing and being searched for.

There were more than 100 people in the Cold Springs Swimming Hole at the time of the flash flood.

The Sheriff’s Office hasn’t released names of the victims nor how many people are currently missing.

The Associated Press reports that 2 of the dead were children and that 4 people were rescued by helicopter and treated in a local hospital for hypothermia on Saturday.

Gila County Press Release-Updated

July 16, 2017

Sheriff J. Adam Shepherd would like to release the following updated information regarding a Search and Rescue operation off Forest Service Road 420 at the Cold Springs Swimming Hole North of Payson, Arizona.

On July 15, 2017, at approximately 3:19 p.m., the Gila County Sheriff’s Office received a 9-1-1 call regarding a Search and Rescue Operation around the Cold Springs Swimming Hole. The Payson Area experienced heavy rain throughout the region causing flash flooding in that area. Individuals were reported missing and search and rescue operations have begun. Deputies, Tonto Rim Search and Rescue, the Arizona Department of Public Safety Ranger Helicopter, Whispering Pines Fire Department and the US Forest Service have been dispatched and are actively working the scene.

Eight (8) individuals have been confirmed deceased and search operations continue for remaining missing individuals. At this time the First Crossing and Second Crossing on Houston Mesa Road as well as Waterwheel are closed.

This is an active investigation and more information may be released as it becomes available.

Sheriff Shepherd would like to thank Tonto Rim Search and Rescue, Payson Posse, CERT, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Payson Fire Department, Whispering Pines Fire Department and the US Forest Service for their coordinating response.

 impressive video of a flash flood in Ellison Creek near the accident site in Payson, AZ today.

On Saturday, warnings for flash floods were issued for the area the Cold Springs Swimming Hole lies within.

Cold Springs is about 90 miles northwest of Phoenix, Arizona.


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