PAYSON, Ariz. - Officials suspect the 27-year-old father who has been missing since the Payson flash flood is now dead, changing the search and rescue efforts to recovery efforts.
A crew of nearly 75 search and rescue personnel from all over the state searched a 2.5 mile area Tuesday for Hector Miguel Garnica. The search, however, was called off around noon due to weather.
Officials announced the switch from search and rescue to recovery efforts Tuesday shortly after 2:00 p.m.
Garnica has been missing since a flash flood ripped through the Cold Springs Swimming Hole just north of Payson on Saturday.
He was among a group of 14 family members and friends. The floodwaters killed nine of them while four others were rescued.
A teen trapped by the floodwaters spoke to 12 News calling the experience “heartbreaking” after witnessing rescue crews carrying a body bag along the trail.
Officials said a drone would fly over the area and more search dogs were joining in the efforts to find Garnica.
Crews are planning to be in the area for three to four days, according to officials.