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Officials identify 16-year-old girl swept away by floodwaters near Cottonwood

Faith Moore.jpg
Cottonwood search for 16-year-old
Posted at 8:55 AM, Jul 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-26 18:39:37-04

COTTONWOOD, AZ — Fire officials have identified the 16-year-old girl who was swept away by floodwaters near Cottonwood Saturday night.

In a Facebook post, officials identified the girl as 16-year-old Faith Moore who was described to have strong ties to the community.

"She is the granddaughter of the recently retired Fire Chief from the Verde Valley Fire District and the retired EMS Chief from Verde Valley Ambulance, also the niece of an active Cottonwood Firefighter," officials said in the post.

During a press conference Sunday, Verde Valley Fire officials said at 9:30 p.m., the teen called 911 asking for help because her car was stranded in knee-high water.

Watch aerial footage of ABC15 as crews searched the area Sunday afternoon.

Crews from Verde Valley Fire, Cottonwood Fire and Police responded and made visual contact with the teen.

During the rescue attempt, the girl was swept off her car and went downstream.

Officials said the water was only at her knees at the time she called for help. The water quickly rose to over eight feet within the hour.

Due to the rising waters and active storms, air support was not immediately available, according to fire officials.

Officials said a K9 officer from Cottonwood Fire was also washed downstream at the same wash as the 16-year-old girl.

Authorities say some of the girl's personal belongings have been found but the teen has not been located at this time.

She was reportedly wearing blue shorts, a light blue shirt and white tennis shoes.

The identity of the girl was not revealed.

Crews are still actively searching the area.

Search efforts that include multiple law enforcement agencies and volunteers are combing through the area to help locate the teen.

Officials said there are estimates from hundreds to 1,000 in the community that are helping with the search.

"The community support has been absolutely incredible and the amount of volunteers has been overwhelming but we also need to be mindful that we do not create more calls due to high heat and humidity. We're expecting more storms here this afternoon," Verde Valley Fire Chief Danny Johnson said.

Pima police said the girl has not been located yet and the search has been suspended for a couple of hours due to rising water in the river. The search is expected to resume once it goes down.

An incoming storm is hitting the area Sunday afternoon, making it difficult for fire and law enforcement to continue with the search, fire officials said.

Volunteers were moved out of the area to avoid any injuries in the event of flash floods.

On Monday, Yavapai County Sheriff's Office (YCSO) said additional law enforcement agencies sent out teams to assist with the search that include its Incident Command Team, SWAT teams from both YCSO and Verde Valley, a Gila County Swiftwater team, a National Guard Blackhawk helicopter and Cottonwood Tactical teams

Search efforts on Monday morning were searching through high-risk areas that volunteers and others cannot access.

Authorities say the additional help is focusing on digging out debris and removing mud from the wash bed.

On Thursday, a 4-year-old girl was swept away by floodwaters in southeastern Arizona.

Crews have been searching in Pima, located near the city of Safford after a mother reported she and her kids were trapped on top of their SUV near the Cottonwood Wash.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Faith's family. If you would like to help, you can donate here.