15 of 17 stranded hikers rescued from Arizona flash flood

PIMA COUNTY, Ariz. -- Emergency crews in Arizona have rescued 15 hikers trapped by raging floodwaters and were still working Monday to reach two more who remained stranded, officials said.

"They are on a cliff that is being blocked by the water. No injuries or extraordinary hazards (are) present, we just can't get to them right now," said Pima County sheriff's deputy Cody Gress said.

"We have three people above them monitoring their status and giving them water, food, and blankets. We are waiting for sun to come up to evaluate the water flow to see what the best course is to get them out."

One of those rescued was a 4-year-old boy, who was airlifted to safety from the Tanque Verde Falls area of Redington Pass in the mountains east of Tucson, Gress said.

Gress said the incident served as a reminder of the danger of flash flooding "especially in areas like Redington Pass and Sabino Canyon."

"It takes time for the water to flow from the mountain down to the valley, and when it does it can be swift and deadly. All too often, hikers decide to hike just after it rains because the air temperature is cooler, not realizing they are walking into areas which are at an increased risk for flash flooding," he said.

Flash flooding caused the deaths of nine members of a family in a popular swimming area north of Phoenix earlier this month. That disaster happened near the Cold Springs swimming hole, just north of Payson, in Gila County, Arizona.