PHOENIX — The Latest on the rescue of hikers stranded by a flash flood (all times local):
The rescuer who hung from a helicopter and plucked stranded hikers from a flooded creek in Arizona says he wrapped his arms around a 4-year-old boy because he feared a harness wouldn’t secure the child’s small frame.
Pima County sheriff’s Deputy Steve West said he was relieved when the boy was safety hoisted into the rescue helicopter, away from raging rapids that stranded him and his father on a boulder Sunday.
Seventeen hikers got stuck when a flash flood tore through a canyon on the outskirts of metro Tucson. All were rescued by Monday morning.
Authorities initially said that one group of hikers were members of the same family but said later that they could confirm only three of them were related. Authorities also said that the group of people numbered eight, not 10 as previously reported.
The circumstances are similar to those of an Arizona flash flood just over a week earlier that killed 10 relatives at a swimming hole. West says the tragedy was on rescuers’ minds when they were called in.
This version corrects that one group of hikers described as related to each other had three people who were related and that there were eight, not 10, people in the group.
The last of 17 hikers stranded by a flash flood in Arizona have been rescued.
A rescue helicopter picked up the last two people Monday morning after they spent the night in a scenic canyon popular with hikers on the outskirts of metro Tucson.
The other 15 hikers stuck at Tanque Verde Falls, in Redington Pass, were lifted out by helicopter Sunday or were walked out by rescue teams. Those 15 included a 4-year-old boy.
Search and rescue teams had dropped food, water and blankets to the two remaining hikers.
Pima County Sheriff’s Deputy Code Gress says the incident is a reminder of the dangers of flash flooding.
Eight days ago, a flash flood killed 10 members of an extended family in Tonto National Forest about 190 miles (300 kilometers) north of where Sunday’s flooding occurred near Tucson.
Rescuers in southeastern Arizona say they expect to work late into the night to lead all 17 hikers stranded by a flash flood to safety.
By late Sunday, a Pima County Sheriff’s Department helicopter had rescued 8 people, including a 4-year-old boy, from the raging waters after heavy rains. Deputies say rescue teams hiking to the others plan to walk them out when the water subsides in the area 25 miles northeast of Tucson.
Officials said one of the remaining nine may have to be airlifted due to his location at Tanque Verde Falls in Redington Pass.
Ten members of an extended family were killed eight days ago by a flash flood in Tonto National Forest about 190 miles north of Sunday’s Pima County flooding.