2 children dead after being swept away in Arizona floodwaters, 1 still missing

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TONTO BASIN, Az. (CBS NEWS) – Two children are dead and another is still missing after the vehicle they were traveling in was swept away in floodwaters in Arizona’s Tonto Basin, the Gila County Sheriff’s Office said Saturday. The Gila County Sheriff’s Office told CBS Phoenix affiliate KPHO the victims found were a five-year-old boy and a five-year-old girl. They were found about three miles from the crash scene.

At about 8:40 a.m. Saturday, the body of one child was found and the next of kin was notified. A second child was found around 11:15 a.m.

The search for a third child is ongoing.

According to the Gila County Sheriff’s Office, they received a call around 4 p.m. Friday of a vehicle stuck in Tonto Creek at Bar X Crossing in Tonto Basin, located about 80 miles from Phoenix. The crossing had been closed several hours earlier, KPHO reported.

According to KPHO, the current of the flooded creek swept the military-style vehicle downstream. A man and four children made it out of the vehicle and became stranded on a small island. Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and the Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopters rescued the stranded adult and four children, the Gila County Sheriff’s office said.

The Gila County Sheriff’s office told KPHO a woman managed to reach the banks on the opposite side of the creek, where she was rescued.

“The Tonto Creek is very brushy. It only flows when we have runoffs. There’s a lot of trees, a lot of brush that makes it almost impossible in some areas to traverse,” Deputy Phil Smith with the Gila County Sheriff’s Office told KPHO. “The water is very cold. It’s slippery, muddy. With the darkness, it’s pretty dangerous.”

Arizona has been hit with powerful storms this weekend. The National Weather Service said a record rainfall of 0.31 inches fell in Yuma, Arizona, on Thursday, while three tornadoes were confirmed in Maricopa County on Friday.

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