Editor's Note: As updates are received, we'll publish them here.
PRELIMINARY REPORT - On March 17, 2010, at approximately 1:45 P.M., Yavapai County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to reports of a man swept into the Verde River near the Child's Power Plant. This landmark is located in the Fossil Creek area between Camp Verde and Strawberry, Arizona. The man had attempted to across the swollen Verde River from east to west intending to access the Verde Hot Springs.
According to a witness, the man lost his footing while crossing the river rock to rock. Friends in the area attempted to assist, but were unable to reach the man. At one point, the man tried to hang onto a tree, but lost his grip due to the swift current.
The YCSO Forest Patrol Deputy requested assistance from the Department of Public Safety Ranger out of Flagstaff to conduct aerial operations. At about 4:30 P.M., while the Ranger Crew was flying south from where the man was last seen, they located him hung up against a tree midstream and submerged. The Ranger crew landed and determined the man, in his twenties, was deceased. He was found about one quarter mile from the hot springs.
The Sedona Fire District Swift Water Rescue Team was called in and completed a long line, short haul recovery of the body just before nightfall.
Further details are pending. The victim's family has not been notified as of this morning. As a result, his name is being withheld. Further updates, including victim identification, may be available later today.
YCSO Rescue personnel cannot stress enough the dangers of river waters in lowland areas throughout Yavapai County. River banks are swollen and the current in some sections is 5 times faster than its normal rate. Rescue experts recommend staying out of these swift waters regardless of how calm they may seem on the surface level. This also goes for vehicle travel across river areas.
Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office with information or questions at
(928) 771-3260 or the YCSO website: www.ycsoaz.gov