No Serious Injuries in Flood by Tourist Spot
Marshfield, WI (OnFocus) Rising water surprised sleeping campers on the Havasupai reservation in Arizona the morning after Thanksgiving, leaving them with just moments to reach higher ground.
Marshfield resident Mandy Augustin, along with her husband, brother, and sister-in-law, was one of those who jumped into action when the campground was flooded with up to two feet of water shortly before 2:30 Friday morning due to a combination of heavy snowfall in northern Arizona and rain.
“There were quite a few people camping in low lying areas that woke up to six inches of water in their tent,” said Augustin.
The remote but popular campground located outside Grand Canyon National Park runs between the Havasu Falls with its iconic turquoise water, and Mooney Falls. When it floods, the water turns brown.
Her brother was camping on lower ground and woke up to the sound of rain. Water had risen just a few inches below his hammock. Both him and his wife lost a hiking boot, while others lost tents and sleeping bags.
A fire captain from central California went into “first responder mode” and walked around waking people up, she said. With one tent in particular he thought there was no chance someone was still inside, but checked and found two women asleep and oblivious to the water. A few minutes later, and they might have been washed down the canyon.
“I fully think he probably saved a dozen lives,” she said.
The rising water created mini islands out of the campsites with some requiring water rescue later. The water was noticeably receding near sunrise. Meanwhile, Augustin’s family had selected a tree to climb just in case and carefully watched the water level. Over thirty people who lost gear were later housed in the Supai village.
Although the Tribal Council advised campers not to hike out due to snow and ice on the trail, Augustin’s group decided to leave early afternoon to stay by their vehicle until the road could be cleared. Fortunately by the time they reached it, they were able to follow a snowplow out.
There were no major injuries in the incident.
Photos submitted by Mandy Augustin