NEAR RIO VERDE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Two man and a child had to be rescued after they got stranded in the rushing floodwaters of Sycamore Creek, located northeast of Cave Creek in the Tonto National Forest.
It started as a day of fun off-roading to celebrate Miranda Franks' birthday. "It was barely sprinkling; it wasn’t even full on raining, then all of a sudden, the flash flood hits you,” said Franks.
Franks was in a separate car with her daughter, following behind her husband and their eight-year-old son Deegan, when the father and son were swept away by a flash flood Sunday afternoon.
"It was coming through my doors and it had been only flooding a minute or two. I dropped to my knees and instantly my mind went blank; I went into shock. I didn't know what to do think,” said Franks.
The terrifying moments were captured on video by 14-year-old Zahid Mendez. “My first reaction was something bad might happen because it was a really strong current,” said Mendez.
Mendez was riding four-wheelers with his uncles and cousins when they watched as this Ford Explorer came rushing by them, and then flipped on its side. "That’s when we saw the kid, like a child, come out the window; they pushed him out the window,” said Mendez.
The family members knew they had to do something. So they started tying ropes together, jumping into the fast moving waters. Roberto Varela reaches the father and son first. “When I got to the dad he was fighting to keep his son afloat. He didn't care he was under the water; his whole goal was to keep his son's head above water... the dad was drowning."
"Once I got there the dad let go of his son he was exhausted,” added Varela.
Mendez continues recording as little Deegan is pulled to safety. "The boy was terrified; he was, like, shaking,” said Mendez.
A few yards down, the father was also rescued, but he was so exhausted he couldn't even stand. “They have my whole heart right now. They didn't know my family, but they jumped into the water they grabbed them. I am so grateful; I can't even put it into words. I really can't,” said Franks.
A third man was also pulled from the water and is doing well tonight. They all suffered some scratches and bruises, but amazingly, everyone was OK.
Meantime, the family has set up a go fund me page to help pay for a new car. You can donate by clicking here.
Flash flooding around our state has caused many people to be caught off guard this past week. A four-year-old girl died after being swept away in floodwaters near the Cottonwood Wash area in Pima, Arizona. Her body was found Monday morning. And the search continues for 16-eyear-old Faith Moore, who is still missing after her car got stuck in a flooded wash near Cottonwood Saturday night.
On Sunday, helicopters had to be called in two rescue people from rushing floodwaters in Avondale and in New River. There has been so much rain over the past week that even city streets flooded quickly. Our crews were there Thursday night when a driver in south Scottsdale had to be rescued after his car got stuck, and he waited on the roof for help to arrive.