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VIDEO: Arizona family of six rescued from monsoon floodwaters

Pinal County Sheriff's Office said the youngest child was only 11 months old

MARICOPA, Ariz. — They held on for their lives as flood waters rushed past them.

Two parents and their four children were seen on top of their submerged SUV in Maricopa during a monsoon storm last week. 

A video posted by the Arizona Department of Public Safety showed the dangerous rescue as it unfolded. 

One by one, each child was taken on board the Ranger 1 helicopter. The Pinal County Sheriff's Office said the children ranged in age from eight, four, two, and 11 months. 

At first, crews had trouble finding the vehicle. "They were actually pushed downstream with the water," said Thunderbird Fire District Chief Allen Allcott, one of the agencies that responded.

From the ground, Chief Allcott watched the air rescue happen. His crew used chainsaws to get to the remote area. He had seven firefighters downstream in case one of the family members fell into the murky and fast-moving water.

"In a matter of seconds, you will travel a long way," Chief Allcott said.

In the end, all six family members were rescued successfully and evaluated by first responders. Chief Allcott said the driver thought they could make it through the flood. "They make that choice that they think the vehicle they are in will be able to make it, but sometimes they are wrong."

The rescue happened in the area of Warren and Val Vista on September 21. It was the second flood rescue crew that responded that night during the storm.

Several areas in the state, including this one, were under a flash flood warning, according to National Weather Service Phoenix.

State Route 238, which travels from Maricopa to Gila Bend, was also closed due to flooding concerns. Still, 12News saw multiple vehicles ignore the signs and drive through.

If those drivers were to have been swept up in the flood waters and rescued, they may have been cited for what's called the "Stupid Motorist Law," which says drivers would have to pay for their rescue if they ignored warning signs and barricades.

While it seems these types of situations happen often, AZ DPS said it's rarely used. Numbers dating back to 2017 show only two drivers have received citations, and eight others have received warnings.

In this recent Maricopa incident, Allcott said there were signs posted on the road saying it was closed. However, he said from the direction the family was driving in, there were no signs on that side. 

A spokesperson for the Pinal County Sheriff's Office said no citations or charges were given to the driver.

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