A shocking video on social media shows the moment when heroic bystanders rescue a father and his son after their Ford Explorer was caught in a flash flood.
The video shows the SUV drifting through rapids at Sycamore Creek in the Tonto National Forest in Chandler, Arizona, on Sunday. Bystanders standing on a sand dune hear whistles and speak in Spanish.
Soon the car overturns on its side and a young boy pokes his head out of a window, followed by two other men who get up as the car overflows.
“Stay there, stay there,” an off-screen woman shouts to them, but moments later the car flips upside down and the three passengers are sent into the flowing water.
‘Oh shoot,’ one is heard, while another shouts ‘the boy’ in Spanish.
A video posted to social media this weekend shows the moment a Ford Explorer was caught in the waters of Sycamore Creek in the Tonto National Forest on Sunday.
The car soon overturns and a young boy sticks his head out of the side, followed by two other men
The Good Samaritans can then be seen running, trying to keep up with the three as they are dragged downriver. Finally, they pull a boy out of the water, but the father continues to float away.
The men catch up to him moments later, but he seems to get stuck in the mud. Together they drag him outside and ask if he is injured and if there was anyone else in the car.
He replies that there is no one else in his car, but says there was another man, and asks about his son before the Good Samaritans could tell him his boy was safe.
They tell him to put his hands to the side to allow maximum airflow and make his breathing easier, as the man explains, “Suddenly it got very deep, very fast.”
The man has since been identified as Aaron Franks and the boy was his 8-year-old son, Deegan. The third man was also rescued from the water that day.
A group of bystanders quickly sprang into action and ran into the fast water to rescue the boy and his father, while he held them down.
His father was rescued moments later when a group of men pulled him out of the water
The rescue was caught on camera by 14-year-old Zahid Mendez, who said he was in the woods on Sunday four-wheeling with his uncles and cousins when he noticed the Ford Explorer.
“My first reaction was that something bad could happen because it was a very strong current,” Mendez said. Arizona family.
He said he and his family watched as the car drove by and flipped on its side.
“Then we saw the child come out the window like a child,” Mendez said. “They pushed him out the window.”
The family began to tie ropes together and jumped into the fast-flowing stream.
Roberto Varela reached the father and son first, he said. “When I got to the father, he was fighting to keep his son afloat,” Varela told the local news station.
“He didn’t care that he was underwater, his whole purpose was to keep his son’s head above water,” despite drowning himself.
“When I got there, the father released his son,” Varela said. “He was exhausted.”
The boy, meanwhile, was “terrified,” Varela said, “he was shaking.”
A few yards away, Martin Lopez was also able to rescue Aaron Franks, who, Varela said, “was so exhausted he couldn’t stand it.”
The third person, who has not been named, is reportedly in good condition. All three had scratches and bruises.
The Franks planned to celebrate Aaron’s wife — and Deegan’s mother’s — birthday on Sunday and enjoy a morning of fun activities, she said. They were sitting on the side of the road eating some sandwiches when it started to rain.
“It was barely drizzling, it wasn’t even pouring rain,” she told Arizona Family, “when suddenly the flash flood hit you.”
The family tried to get back into their two cars to search higher ground, she said. Miranda Franks and their daughter were in one car, and Aaron Franks and Deegan were in a Ford Explorer.
They met another group of people whose vehicle was caught in the flash flood and was stranded. Aaron Franks tried to help them by driving one of the men to higher ground to enlist his help, Miranda said.
But then his car was swept away.
“I felt helpless,” Miranda said. “All I could do was drop to my knees and pray it would be all right.”
“I saw them go into the water,” she said 12 News, adding that the family had walkie-talkies, which she used to calm her son when he started drifting.
“I didn’t know if they were still alive.”
She said she and her daughter were rescued by a helicopter, but it wasn’t until hours later that she discovered that Aaron and their son, Deegan, were safe.
Miranda said she is grateful for what the bystanders – including Arturo Moroyoqui, Manuel Varela and Roberto Carlos – have done for her family.
“They have all my heart now,” she told Arizona Family. “They didn’t know my family, but they jumped into the water and grabbed them.
‘I am so grateful; I can’t even put it into words.’
She also said she hopes no one has to go through a similar experience, telling 12 News: “I pray to God that no one has to learn as hard as we do. If you see flash floods, just wait, don’t drive through them – it’s not worth your life.’
The family now has a GoFundMe raise money for a new car.
Aaron Frank’s car was swept by the current after trying to rescue another man stranded in the flash flood
The family has now set up a GoFundMe to raise money for a new car
Flooding has become common in the state, with authorities Monday finding the body of a four-year-old girl, after she was swept away in floodwaters near the Cottonwood Wash area in Pima.
Helicopters were also called in to rescue people from flooding in Avondale and New River.
And the search continues for 16-year-old Faith Moore, who is still missing after her car got stuck in a flood near Cottonwood on Saturday night.