At least seven dead in Arizona flash flooding

iStock/Thinkstock(PAYSON, Ariz.) -- A search-and-rescue operation is underway after seven people, including two children, died and several went missing in a flash flooding along the Verde River in Arizona on Saturday, according to the Gila County Sheriff’s Office.

A large group was at the river swimming Saturday afternoon when the flash flood came from above them, police said. Three people, ranging from a 3-year-old to 60-year-old, are missing. Four people were rescued and airlifted to a local hospital, police said.

The news comes on the heels of a weather forecast by ABC News' meteorologists predicting "monsoonal-related thunderstorms" throughout the weekend in the Southwest.

Emergency workers received a 911 call regarding a search-and-rescue operation around the Cold Springs Swimming Hole, located in the town of Payson, Arizona, the Gila County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Payson "experienced heavy rain," and search-and-rescue operations were initiated to find individuals who were reported missing, the sheriff's office said. Search operations remain underway for other people who went missing during the flood, the sheriff's office said.


Arizona is not out of the woods by any means, regarding concerns over extreme weather conditions. A flash flood watch will be in effect for the southeast part of the state from Sunday afternoon through Monday evening, according to the National Weather Service.

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