Busy weekend for crews following more than 60 hiker rescues in one day

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Sixty six hikers were rescued throughout Tucson in one day after rising waters in hiking canyons. 

17 of those hikers were trapped in Tanque Verde Falls Sunday after a flash flood swept through the Canyon. 

 

 

Among the hikers, a four-year-old boy. 

"When you see a four-year-old on their dads back and you can't get to them, That's tough," says deputy Brian Boll. 

 

 

"There were three people submerged in water clinging to a tree one with a four-year-old child on their shoulders," says Shelley Litten, Volunteer with Southern Arizona Rescue Association. "The family was in imminent danger, if they lost their grip they were going down stream probably into rapid conditions." 

Pima County Sheriff's Department received a 911 call at 5:38 p.m. Sunday evening. The female caller said, her family was trapped. 

"Once we go out there, we realized there were many people stranded on the wrong side of the canyon and by the rising waters," says Litten.

Helicopters airlifted the people stranded to safety. 

"We were able to hoist those individuals out and fly them over to our landing zone," said Erik Maldonado, Search and Rescue Supervisor with PCSD. 

 

 

The operation took more than 12 hours - the final two hikers were rescued early Monday morning. 

Officials say this was one of the most intense rescues. 

In 1981, eight people died at Tanque Verde Falls after a flash flood. 

Officials say, often times in canyons when it rains in the mountains it creates a large volume of water moving downstream to a narrow space. 

SARA and PCSD urge hikers to check the weather especially during monsoon. 

If you do end up hiking, stay alert and look for a way out incase you need to make a quick exit. 

This weekend, there were 66 hikers rescued due to rising waters, including in Sabino Canyon and Bear Canyon. 

Follow News Reporter Jennifer Martinez on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

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