Crews search for 16-year-old girl swept away by floodwaters near Cottonwood
PHOENIX — Search and rescue crews are on the lookout for a 16-year-old girl who was swept away by floodwaters near Cottonwood on Saturday.
Faith Moore called 911 around 9:30 p.m. asking for help because her car was stranded in knee-high water, but the water quickly rose to over 8 feet within an hour, according to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.
Crews made visual contact with Moore but she was swept out of her car and downstream during the rescue attempt, authorities said.
Police and fire personnel from Cottonwood along with YCSO contributed resources to the search, however air support was not possible until hours later due to a storm in the area.
Ground searches were conducted throughout the night and into the morning in an attempt to find Moore, along with drones from various agencies, a K9 unit and an airboat from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
Personal items belonging to Moore have been found but she was not located as of Sunday afternoon, authorities said.
Moore was last seen wearing blue shorts, a light blue shirt and white tennis shoes, authorities said.
She is the granddaughter of the recently retired fire chief from the Verde Valley Fire District and the retired EMS chief from Verde Valley Ambulance as well as the niece of an active Cottonwood firefighter, authorities said.
Heavy storms over the weekend have caused mass flooding and power outages throughout the state.
The Verde Fire Department was working on five other water rescues at the time of the call from Moore, authorities said.
Authorities are also searching for a 4-year-old Graham County girl who was swept away by floodwaters near Safford on Thursday night.
A woman called the sheriff’s office saying she and her children were stuck on top of their vehicle near the Cottonwood Wash.
The woman and her other children were rescued but crews couldn’t find the young girl.
Drivers are advised not to cross a flooded wash, even if it doesn’t look deep because a few inches of running water could still pose a serious risk.
ADOT also warns people to not drive around road-closed signs as it is not only a risk but violators could be cited under state law.
People are advised to reduce speed and maintain a safe distance between vehicles during storms, avoid sudden braking that can cause sliding on wet pavement as well as reducing speed by slowly taking your foot off the gas pedal and braking slowly.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.