Phoenix survivor spent hours in tree with toddler after flash flood

  • Source:
  • Published: 09/22/2017 12:00 AM

As water rushed around him, Cesar Garcia clung desperately to a tree and his 1-year-old daughter, hoisting himself above the debris-filled creek that had swept the pair downstream and killed 10 of his family members. "All I could think of was like, 'Hold on to my baby.' If I didn't hold on to her, she was going to be gone," he said. The horror that so quickly engulfed Garcia on July 15 occurred on what was meant to be a celebratory outing to mark his sister's birthday. Garcia and 13 family members set out on a hike to the normally tranquil swimming hole below a waterfall known as Water Wheel in Tonto National Forest, a popular escape from Phoenix's brutal summertime heat.


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