Arizona-Utah border town still dealing with flooding tragedy

Posted: Updated:
The community along the Arizona-Utah border is still trying to come to grips with the flooding tragedy back in September that took the lives of 13 people. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) The community along the Arizona-Utah border is still trying to come to grips with the flooding tragedy back in September that took the lives of 13 people. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
HILDALE, UT (3TV/CBS 5) -

Virginia Black is a soft-spoken woman with pale blue eyes that cloud up as she recalls that frightening and unforgettable day last September.

“It was horrible,” Black said as she gazed out from the porch of her Hildale, Utah home. “I’ve never seen anybody die, it was just really hard.”

The desert storm that came roaring along the Utah-Arizona border that day was unlike anything most folks in the area had ever seen before.

"It was quite a bit stronger than we've ever dealt with before," Black said.

From her home, Black watched as the skies darkened and a torrential rain began to fall in the twin border towns of Hildale and Colorado City.

Soon the dirt road in front of Black's house was transformed into a river and, as Black recorded the scene with her cell phone, two large vehicles were swept up in the rising flood waters and then carried over a 30-foot cliff into a raging wash.

Three young women and their 13 children were inside the vehicles.  

Miraculously, three of the children were able to escape the vehicles and were rescued downstream. But the three young moms, who were sisters, and their ten other children all perished. The body of a 6-year-old boy has never been recovered.

In the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, aid and assistance poured in from the outside world. And for a community historically suspicious and hostile to the outside world, they were grateful for the help.

"We are just greatly humbled by this," Hildale, Utah Mayor Philip Barlow said.

[RELATED: 12 now dead in Mohave County flash flooding]

Copyright 2016 KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • Social Connect

  • Contact

    AZ Family