'Water flying everywhere': Teen trapped by flood recounts 'panic moment' near Payson

One 17-year-old was trapped for hours and witnessed the devastating floods.

PAYSON, Ariz.- Nancy Coto, 17, from Pinetop-Lakeside, was visiting Cold Springs for the first time with her boyfriend and his family Saturday afternoon. 

"We were just there to have a good time, and the next thing you know, all you see is this big flash flood," she said. "Water flying everywhere."

In a matter of minutes, Coto saw waves of rushing flood waters rushing through the creek along the trail.

READ: 9 dead, up to 14 victims in flash flood at swimming hole near Payson

"It was just a panic moment after we see the water coming down," she said.

That's when she started recording cellphone video.

"I saw this lady in a tree, and that's like the first thing I saw," Coto said. "All I hear next is, 'Oh, there's a dad in another tree with a child in his hands. It was just upsetting."

Nancy's boyfriend and his dad tried to get to them.

"There was just too big of a gap," she said.

A helicopter eventually plucked them from the river. When Nancy tried to find a way out, it got worse.

"The entrance that we came from, that was just covered in water and we couldn't get out," she said.

They ended up trapped in the area for more than four hours. During that time, she said she saw rescuers carrying a body bag along the trail.

"That was heartbreaking, because I never thought that someone's life was taken," Coto said. 

Coto said she's sending prayers to all the family and friends of the victims.

PHOTOS

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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