Three children missing after vehicle swept away by floodwaters in Arizona

Clay Curtis
December 3, 2019

Authorities are resuming the search for a 6-year-old Arizona girl who was among three children swept away in raging creek waters.

More than 100 volunteers gathered near Tonto Basin, a small community northeast of Phoenix, early Sunday to help search for the missing girl, Willa Rawlings said, the Republic of Arizona said.

The Gila County Sheriff's Office said that several children were reported missing late Friday afternoon after the vehicle they were in got stuck trying to cross Tonto Creek near Tonto National Forest, northeast of the city of Phoenix, the state capital.

The others were eventually rescued and taken to shore with the assistance of a Maricopa County Sheriff's Office helicopter.

The sheriff's office said one of the tots found Saturday was the child of the man and woman in the vehicle, while the other dead child was a niece.

Authorities also continued to search Sunday for the 6-year-old girl, the only one of nine family members unaccounted for on Sunday.

The crossing had been closed hours before the truck tried to cross.

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"Hopefully, we will find her soon and bring her back to safety", Dodd said of the missing child. Two adults and a number of other children were rescued nearby on November 29.

"Multiple rescue teams are on scene, and right now, we're actively looking for the children", said Lt. Virgil Dodd, of the Gila County Sheriff's Office.

The group was believed to be in town for a family reunion during the holiday.

About 30 first responders were still searching for the missing girl.

The region got up to 4 inches of rain about a week before, Benedict said.

"Searchers found the truck about 1,000 yards downstream from the crossing Friday night", Dodd said.

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

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