The bodies of a missing 5-year-old boy and girl, also 5, have been found and one child is still missing after their vehicle was carried away by floodwaters that struck central Arizona Friday, authorities said.
A low-pressure system brought heavy storms that closed down roads and left thousands in the area without power. “GCSO [Gila County Sheriff’s Office] says they located the body of a second child, a 5-year-old girl. They are hopeful they’ll be able to find the last child, believed to be a girl,” according to Fox 10 Phoenix.
The sheriff’s office said more than 50 professionals and volunteers were deployed to search for the children — two of them aged 5 and one aged 6 — after their family got caught in Tonto Creek, about 200 miles east of Pheonix.
Two of the adults and four other children in the submerged RV were rescued by a helicopter after managing to crawl out of the vehicle, authorities said.
A state of emergency was meanwhile declared in Tusayan, Arizona, a town south of Grand Canyon National Park, due to heavy snow and lack of electricity, while holiday traffic slowed to a crawl after the inclement weather struck parts of northern Arizona, California and Oregon this week, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
The heavy snow forced sections of Interstate 17 and 40 to close last Thursday into early Friday in northern Arizona, and 100 miles of Interstate in Northern California were shut down on Thursday because of multiple cars spinning out, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.
Several other roads were closed on Friday morning in Northern Arizona. The Interstate reopened midday on Friday.
The Flagstaff area received 8 to 12 inches of snow as of early Friday, and the National Weather Service said travel was not recommended in the area.