Search paused for missing man caught in floodwaters at Arizona swimming hole

Search and rescue efforts were suspended for Hector Miquel Garnica due to weather conditions. Garnica has been missing since Saturday and was part of the group of family members who were caught in floodwaters at the Cold Springs swimming hole.

PAYSON, Ariz. - Search and rescue teams have paused their search Monday for Hector Garnica, a missing 27-year-old man caught in a flash flood at a popular Arizona swimming hole near Payson.

They're expected to resume the search Tuesday after stopping Monday because of weather.

The search and rescue command post was back up and running around 6 a.m. Monday. The first rescue crew headed out around 7 a.m.

The search will be handed over to a Type 3 rescue team Tuesday.

Garnica was part of a group of 14 family members and friends caught in the floodwaters Saturday at the Cold Springs swimming hole.

Gila County Sheriff's Office began the search and rescue operation around 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Authorities said crews recovered the body of a 2-year-old Sunday afternoon. Among the nine confirmed deaths were two other girls ages 3 and 5, and a 13-year-old boy.

On Monday, officials released the names of those found dead over the weekend:

• 13-year-old Jonathan Leon

• 5-year-old Mia Garnica

• 3-year-old Emily Garnica

• 7-year-old Danial Garnica

• 19-year-old Javier Raya-Garcia

• 57-year-old Selia Garcia Castaneda

• 2-year-old Erica Raya-Garcia

• 24-year-old Maribel Raya-Garcia

• 27-year-old Mara Raya-Garcia

Authorities said 29-year-old Julio Garcia, 28-year-old Esthela Atondo, 8-year-old Acis Garcia and 1-year-old Marina Garcia survived the incident after being 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.

Mountain Bible Church in Payson is offering a grief management program for anyone involved in the tragedy. The church is located at 302 E. Rancho Road and can be reached at 9208-472-7800.

Several agencies, volunteers and K-9 units have since joined the search for the last missing victim.


© 2017 KPNX-TV


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