Hikers trapped by Payson flash flood recount fears

Posted: Updated:
Hikers who saw the tragic and deadly flash flood in Payson told us no one should have to experience what they witnessed. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Hikers who saw the tragic and deadly flash flood in Payson told us no one should have to experience what they witnessed. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Witnesses said the water kept flowing for two hours, before it subsided enough so they could once again reach the trail. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Witnesses said the water kept flowing for two hours, before it subsided enough so they could once again reach the trail. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Hikers who saw the tragic and deadly flash flood in Payson told us no one should have to experience what they witnessed.

"We were on this trail, and 10 minutes into the trail, we started seeing water flooding down, just a lot of water coming down," said Mandisa Alexander.

[RELATED: 9 killed, 1 missing after flash flood tears through swimming hole near Payson]

"Out of nowhere, a bunch of water comes rushing down," Jesse Sandoval said. He and Alexander were hiking with friends when they were caught up in the flash flood near Payson.

"It went zero to 100 that quick," Alexander said. "It was probably a good 20 seconds where I took this video, and the water is calm, and next thing I know, I look up and there's a wave of water coming down."

[RELATED: Round 2: Monsoon pummels Lake Pleasant for second day in a row]

She captured the frightening moments on her cell phone, adding that they saw people in need of rescue and tried to help, but it was so dangerous.

"It was kind of frightening to have that feeling in the back of your head, there could be people out here needing to be saved and not much you can do about it," Alexander said.

[RELATED: Storm damage forces closure of Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix]

"There was a bunch of stuff flying at us and we were way above the water, it was dramatic," Sandoval said.

They said the water kept flowing for two hours, before it subsided enough so they could once again reach the trail.

"It probably got up to about 4 feet, I would say, and where we were walking, you could see all the broken tree branches and mud everywhere," Alexander said.

[SPECIAL SECTION: 2017 Arizona Monsoon]

They didn't hear the tragic news of the fatalities, until they got back to safety.

"I'm just lucky to be alive," Sandoval said.

"It's not something anybody should have to go through," Alexander said.

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Lindsey ReiserLindsey Reiser is a Scottsdale native and an award-winning multimedia journalist.

Click to learn more about Lindsey

Lindsey Reiser

Lindsey returned to the Valley in 2010 after covering border and immigration issues in El Paso, TX. While in El Paso she investigated public corruption, uncovered poor business practices, and routinely reported on the violence across the border.

Lindsey feels honored to have several awards under her belt, including a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award, Hearst Journalist Award, and several National Broadcast Education Association Awards.

Lindsey is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, and she currently serves as a mentor to journalism students. She studied for a semester in Alicante, Spain and also earned a degree in Spanish at ASU.

She is proud to serve as a member of United Blood Services’ Community Leadership Council, a volunteer advisory board for the UBS of Arizona.

Hide bio