Two five-year-old children have been confirmed dead and another is still missing after their family’s ‘military-style’ truck was swept into a creek while they were trying to cross during heavy flooding.
Nine members of the same family got stuck in their vehicle in a raging creek swollen by intense runoff water from a powerful storm in Tonto Creek, Arizona, on Friday.
Four children and two adults managed to get out and were rescued by helicopter, but three children were still inside the truck when it was swept away by the flooded creek.
Family members confirmed the identities of the three children to FOX 10 as Colby and Austin Rawlings, both five, who were found dead and six-year-old Willa Rawlings who is still missing.
Willa’s parents, Daniel and Lacey Rawlings, both escaped from the truck but the bodies of their son, Colby, and niece, Austin, were found about 600 to 1,000 yards from the failed crossing the next day.
Austin is the daughter of Daniel’s brother, Jay Rawlings.
Officials say one adult managed to swim to shore, while four children and one adult who were stranded on an island in the creek were airlifted out of the area by rescue crews.
The family had been together for the Thanksgiving holiday when their oversized truck became stuck in the creek.
Rescuers with helicopters, drones, boats, dogs and an army of volunteers searched frantically on Sunday for the couple’s daughter, six-year-old Willa, who has been missing since Friday.
Lt Virgil Dodd of the Gila County Sheriff´s Office said: ‘We want to bring her home safely to her family. She needs to come home today, and we’re going to do that today.’
At dusk Sunday, rescuers said they found a shoe that might belong to the girl.
The shoe was about 200 yards from where the family’s vehicle was pulled from the water.
‘There was a shoe in the area where there was some interest in that debris,’ Dodd told the Arizona Republic.
‘At this time, we believe that it may belong to the little girl that we’re searching for.’
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Source: Daily Mail