Arizona off-roading family, dog saved from raging flood

PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona family and their dog narrowly avoided being swept away after their mini sports utility vehicle got stuck in rushing floodwaters.

Dramatic video broadcast by media outlets from the Saturday night rescue shows the family of five holding onto the roll cage of the SUV in Sycamore Creek in the Tonto National Forest near Phoenix.

Several people off-roading were stuck waiting for water levels in the creek in Tonto National Forest to come down.

The family tried to cross the creek and then the SUV’s “headlights disappeared and his vehicle was completely underwater,” said Joe Osuch, who owns an off road vehicle recovery service.

Osuch hooked a winch cable from his car and after several throws, the man driving the submerged vehicle caught the other end. He hooked it to the roll cage and Osuch pulled the vehicle with everyone on it out.

The rescue took two to three minutes and Osuch said it was a surreal experience.

“The picture in my mind I can’t get out is the 6-year-old boy sitting on this vehicle with a puppy in his left hand and his right hand holding onto the roll bar,” Osuch said. ”You could see he was just scared out of his mind.”

The family had spent Saturday off-roading as part of a celebration of the life of a recently deceased family member. No injuries were reported.

The creek was dry when they crossed it in the morning, Osuch said.

The National Weather Service had issued a forecast for rain and issued a flash flood advisory. The Phoenix area and many other parts of Arizona were drenched by heavy rain.