On November 29, 2019, around 4:30 AM, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office received a call indicating floodwaters were surrounding a truck and fifth wheel toy hauler on Forest Road 142H, just off Highway 260 outside of Camp Verde. The Camp Verde Marshal’s Office also assisted with communication by relaying the initial information to personnel from the Copper Canyon Fire and Medical District regarding a possible water rescue.
When Deputies arrived, the water had surrounded the truck and fifth wheel trailer and was approximately 4-5 feet deep. There were 3 adults now trapped. The weather was in the low 30's with snow continuing to fall in the area. The Copper Canyon Fire water rescue team arrived a short time later and the rescue was performed quickly and effectively removing the occupants to safety just after 6:30 AM.
Deputies learned the group arrived in the area around 9 PM on November 28, 2019, to prepare for an elk hunt and intended to set up camp the following morning. Overnight, there were steady rain showers in the vicinity causing what is normally a pasture, to fill with water and flood. Unbeknownst to the group at the time, the waters continuing rising overnight until discovered during the early morning hours when a call for help was made.
The occupants of the trailer were taken to Camp Verde by Deputies. Contact with other campers in the area of the flood plain was made to ensure no further rescues were needed. The Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Camp Verde Marshalls Office and Copper Canyon Fire and Medical District for a safe and effective interagency service.
Lessons – The group made the right decision to reach out for help as any attempt to move the vehicle or walkout could have resulted in serious injury, even death. Higher ground will always be the best choice in situations where known storm activity is present and should be a consideration when setting camp under those conditions. This incident shows how quickly floodwaters can rise in just a few hours.
Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260 or the YCSO website: www.ycsoaz.gov