ARIZONA NEWS

Search teams recover bodies of 2 men who drowned in Arizona’s Fossil Creek

May 10, 2024, 9:00 AM | Updated: 2:28 pm

File photo of Fossil Creek. Two men drowned in Arizona's Fossil Creek on Wednesday, May 8, 2024....

Two men drowned in Arizona's Fossil Creek on Wednesday, May 8, 2024. (Recreation.gov Photo)

(Recreation.gov Photo)

PHOENIX — Search teams on Thursday recovered the bodies of two men who drowned in Fossil Creek, a popular recreation site north of metro Phoenix, authorities said.

The men reportedly failed to resurface after entering the water at the lower Fossil Creek waterfalls around 6 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Gila County Sheriff’s Office.

After witnesses at the scene confirmed the reports, multiple agencies launched search and rescue efforts.

The bodies were recovered the next day by divers from the Gila County Sheriff’s Office and Tonto Rim Search and Rescue. The victims were identified as Rakesh Lakkireddy, 23, and Rohith Repala, 25, both of Tempe.

The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office, Yavapai County Response team and Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue unit assisted in the recovery.

What is Fossil Creek?

Fossil Creek flows through parts of Coconino and Tonto national forests west of the Strawberry-Pine area, between Payson and Camp Verde.

The listing for the Fossil Creek Wild and Scenic River on Recreation.gov, the federal government’s travel planning and reservation platform, describes the site’s allure.

“Because of its beauty and year-round water, people are drawn to this area. The lushness of the riparian area strikes a sharp contrast to the dry and sparse desert vegetation that surrounds it,” the listing says.

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Search teams recover bodies of 2 men who drowned in Arizona’s Fossil Creek