Arizona flash flood: More crews, dogs join search for man swept away by floodwaters

Additional crews from around Arizona joined the search Tuesday for a 27-year-old man still missing after a flash flood killed nine of his family members.

Authorities said several more trained dogs also will be part of the search for Hector Garnica, which still is being called a search and rescue rather than a body recovery.

Detective David Hornung of the Gila County Sheriff's Office says he's seen miracles happen before and searchers haven't given up hope of finding the father of three children alive. But with monsoon rains in the forecast through Friday, Hornung said the weather may make the search more difficult.

The search was suspended Monday afternoon because of thunderstorms moving into the Tonto National Forest area.

Cougan Carothers, the Battalion Chief at Central Yavapai Fire District, said search crews have lookouts up the creek to monitor water levels in case of more rain and are being "super cautious."

"We are planning on being here as long as it takes," he said.

Related coverage...

As of Tuesday morning, 75 people are now part of the search in an area that spans two and a half miles.

The area search crews are combing through is full of dark, muddy waters filled with debris, some of which is bigger than cars, according to Carothers.

"The flood affected the river channel quite a bit, spread debris throughout the entire channel," he said.

Garnica was the father of three children -- ages 3, 5 and 7 -- who died after being swept away by the rushing water. Garnica's wife, identified by family and friends as Maria Raya-Garcia, also died in the floodwaters.

The Garnicas were part of a group of 14 extended family members from the Phoenix and Flagstaff areas that Saturday for a day trip at a swimming hole near Payson, about 100 miles northeast of the capital. The intense thunderstorm caught everyone by surprise, unleashing 6-foot-high floodwaters mixed with trees and other debris onto the group.

Sudden flooding in canyons has been deadly before. In 2015, seven people were killed in Utah's Zion National Park when they were trapped during a flash flood while hiking in a popular canyon that was as narrow as a window in some spots and several hundred feet deep.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.