The Latest: Search for man turning into body-recovery effort

The Latest: Search for man turning into body-recovery effort Photo: AP

July 18, 2017 06:25 PM

TONTO NATIONAL FOREST, Ariz. (AP) — The Latest on flash flooding in Arizona (all times local):

3:45 p.m.

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Officials say they believe the search for a man who was swept away in a flash flood at a swimming hole in central Arizona is turning into an effort to recover his body.

Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management spokeswoman Tiffany Davila says crews had hoped that Hector Garnica would still be alive.

But Davila says crews who have searched for Garnica for three days now believe they are working a recovery effort.

Garnica's wife and three young children were among nine people killed Saturday after a torrent of water from a thunderstorm roared through a swimming hole in the Tonto National Forest.

Crews looked for Garnica's body for four hours Tuesday. But they suspended the search over concerns that thunderstorms would cause more flooding there.

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3:30 p.m.

Crews looking for a man who was swept away in a flash flood in central Arizona suspended their search over concerns that thunderstorms moving through the area would cause more flooding.

Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management spokeswoman Tiffany Davila says the search for 27-year-old Hector Miguel Garnica is scheduled to resume Wednesday.

The search was called off to protect the safety of the crews.

About 75 searchers looked for Garnica for four hours Tuesday before the search was suspended.

Garnica's wife and three young children were among the nine people killed Saturday after a torrent of water from a thunderstorm upstream roared through a swimming hole in the Tonto Nation Forest about 100 miles (160 kilometers) northeast of Phoenix.

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8:39 a.m.

An expanded search is underway for a man missing since floodwaters swept through an Arizona canyon, killing nine family members.

About 75 searchers are looking for 27-year-old Hector Garnica, missing since Saturday in mountains about 100 miles (160 kilometers) northeast of Phoenix.

A multi-agency incident management team is now overseeing the search, which includes forestry crews, county search and rescue teams and law enforcement officers.

A flash flood watch issued for much of northern Arizona includes the search area. Officials say they'll suspend the search if there's flood danger to rescuers.

The search was cut short Monday due to weather conditions.

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6:58 a.m.

A flash flood watch has been issued for much of northern Arizona, including a rural area where authorities are searching for a man missing since floodwaters swept through a canyon.

The National Weather Service says the flash flood watch will be in effect from 11 a.m. Tuesday through Wednesday evening.

The watch area includes the canyon where nine family members were killed by floodwaters Saturday.

Crews are assembling to resume searching Tuesday morning for 27-year-old Hector Garnica. State Department of Forestry and Fire Management spokeswoman Tiffany Davila says weather conditions may again cut short their work, as happened Monday afternoon.

The search is now being overseen by a multi-agency team. Davila says additional crews are joining the effort.

The search area is in mountains about 100 miles (160 kilometers) northeast of Phoenix.

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12:20 a.m.

With nine family members already dead from a flood that roared through an Arizona canyon, rescuers on Tuesday will continue the search for a tenth who was swept away.

Detective David Hornung of the Gila County Sheriff's Office said Monday night that dozens of fresh volunteers from around the state are expected to come help search for 27-year-old Hector Garnica.

Hornung says that while the search team will include cadaver dogs, they still hope to find him alive.

Garnica was in the canyon on Saturday at a swimming hole to celebrate his wife's birthday. She and their three children were among the nine dead.

Five other people were rescued, some of them clinging desperately to trees.

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(Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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