Phoenix hikers survive flash flood, now calling for warning signs near deadly trail

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Ryan Trujillo and Nicole Smith recorded video of a flash flood north of Payson. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Ryan Trujillo and Nicole Smith recorded video of a flash flood north of Payson. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Fortunately, the friends from Phoenix were on high enough ground they didn't get washed away. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Fortunately, the friends from Phoenix were on high enough ground they didn't get washed away. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The Phoenix friends want to know why there are no signs in the area warning hikers and swimmers of possible flash flooding after it rains. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The Phoenix friends want to know why there are no signs in the area warning hikers and swimmers of possible flash flooding after it rains. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Ryan Trujillo has cell phone video of the devastating flash flood near Payson Saturday.

Trujillo and three friends had gone for a hike at Cold Spring Falls when all of a sudden a wall of water came roaring through.

[SLIDESHOW: Deadly flash flood at swimming hole near Payson]

"It happened really fast," said Trujillo. "It happened in a matter of 20 seconds."

"We turn around and all of a sudden all this water is coming with logs and trees," said fellow hiker Nicole Smith. "We turn back and look at the trail that we saw our friends go down, and the water filled it up."

[SPECIAL SECTION: Monsoon 2017]

Fortunately, the friends from Phoenix were on high enough ground they didn't get washed away.

But a nearby family wasn't as lucky.

At least nine people, including several children, were killed in the flash flood.

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

Trujillo and Smith consider themselves experienced hikers but said they had no way of knowing they were in any danger.

The Phoenix friends want to know why there are no signs in the area warning hikers and swimmers of possible flash flooding after it rains.

"There's nothing warning you that this is going to happen," said Smith. "There's (sic) no signs, no flood warnings. The way the rescue team sounded - they sounded like this happens often and that's not right."

[RELATED: Loved one remembers family who died together in flash flood north of Payson]

Trujillo and Smith would like the Gila County Sheriffs Office and Tonto National Forest to make some changes, and put up flash flood warning signs in the area, where last weekend's tragedy took place.

"There just needs to be more precautions warning people," said Trujillo.

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


Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

Click to learn more about Jason.

Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

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