Three children are missing after flash flooding in Arizona

Three children are missing after floodwater swept up their vehicle Friday in central Arizona.

A car was crossing Tonto Creek, about 60 miles west of the New Mexico border, when it was caught in flooding around 4 p.m. local time, Gila County Undersheriff Mike Johnson said.

Four children and one adult managed to get out of the vehicle and were stranded on an island in the middle of the creek, where they were rescued by a helicopter from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Johnson said.

A woman who was in the water also got out, but three children remain unaccounted for, the undersheriff said.

The children and two adults were all in the car together when it was overtaken by floodwater, Johnson told CNN. It’s unclear how they know each other and how old they all are.

An Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter joined the search for the children Friday night, along with local authorities and the fire department, Johnson said.

A flood warning was in effect for Gila County until 8:45 p.m. local time, according to the National Weather Service in Phoenix.

“Remain alert for flooding even in locations not receiving rain. Arroyos, streams, and rivers can become raging killer currents in a matter of minutes, even from distant rainfall,” the weather service said in its flood warning announcement.