Five Arizona Teens Stranded When SUV Was Swept Away by Water

Snowflake Fire, and Taylor Fire & Ambulance responded Wednesday, December 30, 2004 at 10:58 PM, to a report of five juveniles stranded on the top of an SUV in the flooded Cottonwood Wash in Snowflake, Arizona, where it crosses 7th Street south.

The teens reported they did not see the flood crossing until it was too late, and were swept almost a half mile down river, finally lodging in some small trees. They were cold and wet and reported having been there since 10 PM, but had no way to call for help.

The water was running fast, deep, and wide. The teens apparently rolled down the rear door window on the driver's side, and climbed onto the roof of the SUV, then rolled up the window as high as they could from the exterior of the vehicle. They reported that the water was over the roof of the SUV.

As the two fire and rescue departments assessed the situation, it was determined that a swift water team needed to be called. Initially, a helicopter was requested, however the weather kept it on the ground. Next, the departments called for backup from Pinetop Fire.

As the departments continued to monitor the situation, the water level dropped approximately 3 feet. Rescuers were then able to walk the kids out from the other side of the Wash.

The scene was cleared at 4:30 AM the following day.

On scene were some 40 responders including: Snowflake Fire, Taylor Fire, Pinetop Fire, the Snowflake /Taylor Police department, and the Navajo County Sheriff's Office.