PAYSON, Ariz. - The recreation area along the Verde River is back open after the quiet creek turned into a deadly rushing river, sweeping away a family that was celebrating a birthday back in July.
Only four of the group of 14 survived. The 10 others were killed after a flash flood back in July. The rushing water took over the swimming hole in an instant. Those in the water had no warning what was coming.
The swimming hole at the Water Wheel Recreation Area is as inviting as ever. There is a picture-perfect stream cascading gently over the rocks. So picture-perfect, it attracted photographers from Fountain Hills.
"It makes you really kind of think.. you feel guilty taking pictures with what happened in July," said Spence Fairbanks.
You can see why people would want to come to this place. A beautiful stream, a lovely swimming hole. It's paradise -- until you look at a wall of wood and debris. Flash floodwaters unleashed it all, knocking down, dragging under and snuffing out the lives of an entire family. 10 people. Their names are on a nearby memorial. A poignant reminder of the danger hidden in the midst of all this beauty.
"People do not pay attention. They think they can beat it. Reminds me of people sticking around during Irma, some rescued or even died. People take awful chances," said Alan Magazine.
"You just never know when that will come down the washes. Hopefully, that will open other people's eyes about swimming in these places," said Bill Kabat.