Nine people have died and one is still missing following a flash flood at the popular Cold Springs Swimming Hole in Payson, Arizona.
Thunderstorms pounded the rural central Arizona area on Saturday afternoon. There were more than 100 people in the Cold Springs Swimming Hole at the time.
Official Press Release-Updated
July 16, 2017
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, Payson Posse, CERT, Payson Fire Department and the US Forest Service are actively working the scene.
Nine (9) individuals have been confirmed deceased. Search operations have been suspended and will resume tomorrow morning for the remaining missing individual. 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.
Warning Signs Of A Flash Flood
Check the Weather
Get the forecast for the entire watershed: Storms can trigger floods miles downstream. Recent rains? Be extra alert–saturated soil makes flooding more likely.
Scout for Signs
Water stains on canyon walls and debris lines indicate likely flood sites. Take care in areas with rocky ground that won’t absorb excess runoff.
Watch the River
If water suddenly gets deeper, faster, muddier, or begins carrying twigs, needles, or leaves, get to high ground ASAP. Likewise, head up immediately if you hear the roar of an approaching flood.