The Gila County Sheriff’s Office warned Arizona residents Friday morning that several roads and bridges were closed after floods made them unsafe to cross. Most of the closures were around Tonto Creek.
“Gila County Sheriff’s Office would like to advise that the Store Crossing, Bar X Crossing and the A Crossing going across Tonto Creek in Tonto Basin are now closed. Please do not try to cross these crossings. Please have a safe day,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
Just a few hours later, deputies and several other agencies were performing a “search and rescue” for three missing children that were swept away by flooding at the Bar X Crossing at Tonto Creek.
Authorities received a call at 4:11 p.m. about a vehicle stuck at that location, according to a statement from Gila County Sheriff J. Adam Shepherd. Multiple people needed rescue.
Once there, officials with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and Department of Public Safety rescued by helicopter one adult and four children, who escaped the vehicle and were stranded on an island. Another adult made it safely to shore, but three children never made it out of the vehicle, officials said.
Multiple agencies, including the Tonto Basin, TriCity and Globe Fire Departments, are assisting in the search for the children.
Information about the ages of the children and their relations to those rescued has not been released.
Many parts of Arizona were hit with severe winds and floods across the Thanksgiving holiday week, while areas such as Flagstaff got as much as nine inches of snow.
Shepherd said he would like to “remind everyone of the dangers that can occur during flooding. We are concerned for the safety of those involved and the first responders.”