In Arizona : Eight dead, several missing in flash-flooding

At least eight people have been killed in floodwaters at a swimming area in Tonto National Forest in the US

An Arizona sheriff says at least seven people have died in flash flooding at a popular swimming hole.

On July 15, this stream near Payson, Arizona, was 40 feet wide as flood waters swept through.

They said the missing person is a 27-year-old man and attributed the error to miscommunication due to having such a large number of victims. Although he referred to the gathering as a "family group", he said it's possible that some members of the group were not related, according to the Associated Press.

Crowds looking to beat the Phoenix metro area's heat often head to the small creeks that flow out of the mountains forming swimming holes and a series of small waterfalls.

A husband and wife from California were killed in September 2008 when they were trapped in a flash flood while hiking in a slot canyon in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in Utah. Payson is 88 miles north of Phoenix.

Payson "experienced heavy rain" prior to the incident, and search and rescue operations were initiated to find individuals who were reported missing, the sheriff's office said.

The four family members who were rescued have all been treated and released from the hospital.

Three of the bodies were found on Saturday while the fourth was recovered on Sunday.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood alert for much of Arizona until Monday evening, with more storms expected in the middle of next week.

Two people are still missing but that number may increase, deputies said on Sunday as the extent of the damage became more clear. It happened during monsoon season, when whether like this can strike furiously. Earlier to that, in 1997, flash floods killed 11 hikers near Page, Arizona.

"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.

A map of the area shows a bend in the canyon just before the Water Wheel Campground, potentially hiding the wall of water until it was too late to react.

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