VIDEO! Floodwaters sweep away tents; our chopper crew warns campers in nick of time

Posted: Updated:
(Source: 3TV /CBS 5) (Source: 3TV /CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV /CBS 5) (Source: 3TV /CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV /CBS 5) (Source: 3TV /CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV /CBS 5) (Source: 3TV /CBS 5)
CORDES JUNCTION, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Some campers near Cordes Junction might owe their lives to the Penguin Air and Plumbing News Chopper crew. The chopper had been following floodwaters as they raged down downriver Friday afternoon. 

The chopper crew spotted the campers in the path of the flood and raced ahead to warn them what was coming their way. The crew tried to land the bird, but there was no safe place to do that and the water was coming too fast.

They did the only thing they could -- flew low and circled over the campers to get their attention.

The helicopter was overhead at about 2:45 p.m., video recording as the racing water swept away the group's tents. It happened in moments. You can see a woman who had been sitting under the white tent scrambling up the hill to safety.

[WATCH RAW VIDEO: Wall of rushing water sweeps away tents]

[WATCH: Aron Whitesell explains what he saw from the air]

So far as we know, nobody was hurt.

We sent the chopper up north after flooding in Mayer triggered an evacuation order. That order has since been lifted.

[READ MORE: Mayer residents' fears become reality as area gets hit hard by flooding]

[WATCH RAW VIDEO: Chopper over flooding headwater near Mayer - Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3]

The chopper was about to head home when the crew spotted the flooding headwater racing down Big Bug Creek.

At one point, a small group of people got close enough to the raging water to snatch tires from the flowing debris. At another point, several people gathered on a bridge to watch the approaching water from a safe vantage point.

This kind of flash flood is similar to the one that tore through the Cold Springs swimming hole near Payson killing 10 members of a family last month.

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

[WATCH: New video shows more of deadly flash flood]

Nine people were confirmed dead that day. The 10th was swept downstream. It took search teams days to find his remains.

[READ MORE: Remains found confirmed to be father missing after flash flood near Payson]

[RELATED: Anatomy of a killer flash flood]

[SPECIAL SECTION: Monsoon 2017]


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


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