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GCSO: Two children found dead, 1 missing after Tonto Creek flooding

Posted at 12:32 PM, Nov 30, 2019

Officials from the Gila County Sheriff's Office confirmed a 5-year-old boy and 5-year-old girl were found dead after a military-style vehicle was swept away by flooding in the Tonto Basin area around 4 p.m. on Friday.

According to the Gila County Sheriff's Office, two of the three children reported missing following the crash were located around 8:45 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. on Saturday.

As the search for three missing children continued on Saturday, GCSO said the military-style vehicle had been found late Friday night, but three missing children were not inside.

Two of the children were located three-miles downstream of the crash location on Saturday morning.

According to GSCO, one adult and four children made it out of the vehicle and were stranded on an island following the crash. Another woman was able to escape and get to a nearby bank.

Members of the group who escaped the vehicle were eventually rescued and taken to shore with the assistance of a Maricopa County Sheriff's Office helicopter.

A Department of Public Safety helicopter was called in to assist with search and rescue operations for the remaining missing child.

Tonto Basin water rescue
Photo courtesy Anastasia Richards

Officials on scene say two of the children are five years of age, and the third is six. The family was together as part of a holiday gathering with relatives.

Sheriff's say at least 50 people are assisting in search and rescue efforts, which are ongoing. First responders plan to continue searching until they find the last child.

"Sheriff J. Adam Shepherd would like to thank the multiple agencies for assisting in this ongoing operation and remind everyone of the dangers that can occur during flooding. We are concerned for the safety of those involved and the first responders," a press release from the Gila County Sheriff's Office noted.