RIMROCK – At 6:28 a.m. Tuesday, Copper Canyon Fire and Medical Authority was called out to the confluence of Wet Beaver Creek and Dry Beaver Creek in Rimrock where a motorist was washed off the Reay Crossing, according to CCFMA Fire Chief Terry Keller.
The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office received a call, around the same the time, regarding the single vehicle attempting the cross.
“The caller indicated the vehicle was beginning to float away and appeared to contain only the driver,” said Dwight D’Evelyn, YCSO media relations coordinator.
CCFMA, with help from Sedona and Verde Valley fire districts, as well as Yavapai County Sheriff's Office's Back Country team, initiated swift water rescue with an inflatable boat, said Ed Mezulis, division chief with Sedona Fire District.
“The weather remained very stormy in the area and visibility was very poor. At about 7:15 a.m., fire personnel located the vehicle almost completely submerged in the river some distance from the crossing,” said D’Evelyn.
Jayson Coil, battalion chief with Sedona Fire District, used a drone to attempt to locate the vehicle’s occupants.
When authorities left the site of the vehicle, possibly a mid-sized sport utility vehicle, it was nearly fully submerged in the creek, Keller said.
The swift water team was deployed but they were unable to get a complete view of the vehicle interior, said YCSO, and a full search effort covering the area where the vehicle was submerged was ordered.
“Around 11:45 a.m., an Arizona Department of Public Safety Ranger crew flying over the creek bed spotted a body a little less than a mile from the submerged vehicle,” said D’Evelyn.
Recovery operations are currently underway.
“Rescue 1 is also flying to aid efforts of ground personnel tracking a path to the body,” said D’Evelyn.
Additional details will be added as they become available.
“As we have publicized so many times, do not attempt “low water” crossings. It takes very little water to carry a vehicle away! The velocity of water in this area is unusually high,” said D’Evelyn.