After a deadly flash flood, a man and his dog are grateful to be alive.
The Tonto National Forest near Payson, Arizona is dotted with swimming holes and waterfalls where campers, hikers, and adventurers go to beat the summer heat.
Brandon West and his dog, Lucky, were hanging out by the waterfalls this past Saturday, but their fun weekend turned tragic in the blink of an eye.
In a matter of seconds, the calm water turned deadly as a flash flood came raging down the riverbank. It was a mixture of water, mud, soot, and tree limbs that was sent downstream from a monsoon miles away.
West said in interview with KOAA News;
"You make the wrong step, you get sucked under. You pray you're making the right decision."
With no time to think, West grabbed his dog and hoisted him onto his shoulders. He didn't let go as the raging water caught up to them and swept him off his feet. West and Lucky went over three waterfalls and were powerless to fight back against the current.
Pushed beyond the point of exhaustion, Lucky was ripped from West's arms. West was disoriented, injured, and desperate to find his dog, but he managed to climb onto a rock sticking out from the flood water. He recorded a video on his Go-Pro not knowing if he would survive.
As the water started to slow, West was amazed to see that Lucky had lived up to his name and had miraculously made it to safety. Both West and his dog are scratched and bruised, but they're now safe at home.
While man and dog were reunited, West grieves for the nine people who didn't survive the flash flood. Rescuers have worked tirelessly to recover the bodies, and one 13-year-old boy is still missing and presumed dead. West fought back tears as he said;
"I don't want to seem ungrateful for being alive, but I just wish they were too."
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