Authorities in central Arizona are searching for three children missing after a vehicle was swept away while attempting to cross a runoff-swollen creek amid unsafe, wintry weather that bedeviled drivers across large swaths of the western us over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Two of those children, a boy and a girl, both about 5 years old, were found dead on Saturday about three miles downstream from where the vehicle became submerged, said Virgil Dodd, a sheriff spokesman.
Nine members of an Arizona family, together for the Thanksgiving holiday, were in an oversized military-style truck when they got stuck in a raging creek swollen by intense runoff from a powerful storm.
A man and four children managed to get out of the vehicle and were rescued by a helicopter while a woman was found on shore, but the three other children were lost in the floodwaters and could not be recovered, police said.
At about 8:40 a.m. Saturday, the body of one child was found and the next of kin was notified.
Officials on scene say two of the children are five years of age, and the third is six.
An adult and four children made it out of the vehicle and became stuck on an island.
Gila County sheriff's Lt. Virgil Dodd said the first body found was of a 5-year-old boy. "Therefore, the grounds were already quite humid and that probably helped with the runoff". "They are the salt of the earth and have done a lot". Merrill came with a group from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Pinetop, about 130 miles east of the search area. "Little League, school. volunteers for football. whatever it took, they've been in the middle of it". "The whole community joined around him to show his love and support during this tragedy", he said. Dodd added that they are hoping to find the last one and bring her to safety.
Smith said the creek only flows during storm runoff.