Southwest Flash Flood Survival Stories

Hello everyone! Rob Raskin of Las Vegas here again, and today I’d like to share some stories with you about people who survived flash floods in the American Southwest. Here in Vegas it is almost the rainy season, and this area is prone to flash floods. These powerful floods can strike without much, if any warning, so if you are in an area that is prone to flooding be aware, stay safe, and be prepared!


Sarah Owen

When 33-year-old backpacker Sarah Owen of Page, Arizona, headed out on a solo hiking trip in Utah’s Paria Canyon, she had no idea it would very nearly be her last. There was just a 20% chance of rain when Owen decided to take her chances with the weather, but within forty minutes a storm began, and Page’s hike took a turn for the worse. Soon the woman found herself nearly literally in over her head as torrential rainfall began to pour and she found herself stuck in quicksand. Rather than staying calm as one is supposed to do when stuck in quicksand, the hiker panicked and began flailing, but she regained her composure, crawled out, and went back the way she came—choosing to camp overnight rather than risk crawling through more quicksand. In the morning after the storm receded, Sarah Owen was found by a pair of hikers, and together the three of them hiked back through the quicksand and made it out to safety. The moral of this story is don’t hike alone, because they don’t call it quicksand for nothing!


Brandon West

Arizona man Brandon West didn’t head out alone when he went hiking with his dog Lucky this year in Payson, Arizona. West and his dog decided to hike and swim in the beautiful Tonto National Forest. When the floodwaters from a monsoon that was miles away swept through the area, the man was left with little time to react, and he quickly realized every move he made had the potential to be his last. With no margin of error, West was able to guide himself to safety, and miraculously he was also able to mostly hold his dog up out of the water—even while they were swept down waterfalls. Eventually West and his canine companion were separated, but both lived and were eventually reunited. Nine other hikers that day weren’t so lucky.


Have you ever been caught in a flood? How did you survive? Let me, Rob Raskin, know in the comments!


See footage of Brandon’s dramatic rescue here: