At Least 9 Are Dead After Arizona Flash Flood

WATCH: Flash Floods In Tonto National Forest, Arizona, That Killed 9 People

WATCH: Flash Floods In Tonto National Forest, Arizona, That Killed 9 People

At least eight people drowned while swimming in an Arizona, US, river when a group was overwhelmed by flash flooding that followed heavy rains in the drought-stricken region.

Sheriff's office staff responded to an emergency call after the flooding at the Cold Springs Swimming Hole, said J. Adam Shepherd of the Gila county sheriff's office.

The search for the remaining missing person, a 27-year-old man, continued along the Verde River in the Tonto National Forest north of Phoenix, a sheriff's official said.

This grainy image taken from video of the floods shows a father clinging to a tree with his baby in his hand.

Water Wheel Fire and Medical District Fire Chief Ron Sattelmaier said the flood was sparked by a severe thunderstorm in a remote area that had been burned by a recent wildfire.

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"Out of nowhere, a bunch of water comes rushing down", Jesse Sandoval said. Deputies, Tonto Rim Search and Rescue, the Arizona Department of Public Safety Ranger Helicopter, as well as Whispering Pines Fire Department have been dispatched and are actively working the scene.

Mr Sattelmaier said: They had no warning - they heard a roar and it was on top of them. "It was a big group of people out there enjoying swimming in the river and playing in the water", he said.

The fourteen people swept away in the flood were part of a large family from the Phoenix and Flagstaff areas who had met up Saturday to spend the day at the popular swim spot. "In addition to the state of Arizona providing full air support, we will continue to assist in all ways possible", Ducey said. It happened during monsoon season, when weather like this can strike furiously.

"Normally it's just a trickle of a creek, but during the monsoon season it can go from a foot deep to 10 feet deep in a matter of minutes", he said.

The thunderstorm hit about eight miles upstream of the swimming hole along Ellison Creek.

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