Rescue teams save 25 people stranded by flash flooding in national forest

More than two dozen people are home safe after a scary trip to a national forest, thanks to Arizona firefighters and local search and rescue teams.

Twenty-one adults, three children, and one infant out exploring in Coronado National Forest last Friday suddenly found themselves trapped when a low-water crossing at Bear Canyon filled with fast-moving flood water. According to, the water was moving at 3,000 cubic feet per second, while experts warn that people shouldn’t attempt to cross water moving any faster than 300 cubic feet per second.

Arizona firefighters soon joined forces with U.S. Forest Service and Pima County Search and Rescue teams to help the people cross the water safely. The firefighters determined that a ladder rescue would be the safest course of action. “This maneuver was imperative,” according to a Facebook post from the Tucson Fire Department, “as the rescuers anticipated continued storms in the area and the water to rise.”

So, shortly before sundown, the crews lowered a ladder furnished by the Tucson Fire Department and brought all those trapped to safety.

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“Great teamwork made this rescue happen,” @CoronadoNF wrote in a tweet which includes several photos.

The Tucson Fire Department echoed similar sentiments in another Facebook post: “Great work by our TRT team, and we appreciate the close connections we have with neighboring agencies that make quick rescues like this possible. Just another day in the life for #TucsonFire!👩🚒”

According to, one of the rescued was said to have suffered a sprained ankle either before teams arrived or during the rescue. The person is expected to make a full recovery. There were no other injuries reported from the rescuers or the rescued.

The annual period between June 15 and September 30 is considered “monsoon season” in Arizona, according to FOX10 Phoenix. Monsoons are a shift in strong winds that, during summer months, often usher in significant rainfall that can cause severe flooding. Fox News reports that monsoons have lately washed out some Arizona road ways in recent weeks.

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