The Two-Way

Death Toll In Flash Floods On Utah-Arizona Border Increases To 9


Search crews clear mud and debris from a road following a flash flood Monday in Hildale, Utah.
Rick Bowmer, AP

Updated at 2:46 p.m. ET

Search teams recovered the body of a ninth victim Tuesday, a day after flash floods in Utah engulfed two vehicles carrying 16 people and swept them into a waterway.

The body was found just across the border in Arizona, according to Fox13 News in Salt Lake City.

Four people remain missing. Teams resumed their search efforts Tuesday near the Utah-Arizona border on the banks of Short Creek. Search dogs were being used to assist in finding the missing, and crews were using heavy equipment to clear tons of mud and debris.

NPR's Howard Berkes reports from Salt Lake City that six victims were found in Utah. Two others were found across the state line in Colorado City, Ariz. He adds:

"The threat of more flash flooding forced a cautious rescue effort early Tuesday but the weather service lifted its flood warning at noon local time. Search dogs and about 600 volunteers are looking for the missing. Heavy equipment is clearing tons of mud and debris.

Flash floods are common in the border towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona, which sit at the base of a skyscraping sandstone mountain. But old-timers say they've never seen a flood like this."

The Facebook page for Utah's Washington County, which has been providing updates on the search mission, states:

Support comes from

"The creek is still running high and the area is unstable with large volumes of mud and debris. Please stay away from the area and allow searchers to continue their efforts."

Our original post continues.

Three victims survived, and one was transported to a hospital Monday.

Search and rescue efforts were scaled back overnight due to the treacherous conditions. Emergency responders from the cities of Hildale, Colorado City, Hurricane and from the Washington County Sheriff's office, along with search and rescue workers from Mohave County and Apple Valley, were on the scene Monday night.

"We're pretty used to flash flooding, but this is significantly more than what we're used to," said Hildale Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Barlow.

The Utah Division of Emergency Management said in a statement that the streets in flood-affected areas were awash in mud, sand, boulders and debris, and that many homes were without power and water.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that "those who died and are missing include young children, one as young as 4, and their mothers. The victims appear to be from multiple families."

The newspaper adds:

"Of the dead located thus far, six were found in the water on the Utah side of the border, while two were found downstream in Arizona, more than 2 miles away, the Washington County Sheriff's Office reported.

Search efforts on Tuesday were painstakingly slow, with crews having to dig through miles of thick mud and debris in their search for the missing."

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit
KNPR and NPR Thank-You Gifts including t-shirts hoodies and cap

More Stories