National News

8-year-old Payson flash flood survivor wants to re-connect with his rescuer

Posted July 19

— Only four people survived a flash flood near Payson Saturday. One was an 8-year-old boy from Flagstaff. He has a stranger to thank for looking after him after the tragedy.

Like many young boys, Asis Raiden Garcia-Baker loves his video games. After what he's been through, his mother, Tasha Baker, is letting him play.

"I've never been so happy to hear the sounds of a video game," said Baker.

She says the games are a distraction from a black eye and scraped up knees, the wounds from a weekend tragedy that took the lives of nine of his family members.

Raiden went with his father Saturday to Payson to meet up with more relatives at a popular swimming hole.

A flood ripped through the area, sweeping them all away.

"There was tons of wood rushing towards us. I got hit by a couple of the logs," said Raiden.

Raiden was separated from his family.

"As a mom, I can't think of something that would be scarier for a kid to go through," said Baker.

Clinging to a log, scared and cold, he was rescued by a stranger.

"White beard, white hair," Raiden said, describing the man he believes is named Kelly.

"He hasn't stopped talking about him since he came back," said Baker.

Now Raiden wants to connect with him again.

"I just want to tell him, 'Thank you for keeping me company, I'm so glad you were there,'" said Raiden.

Raiden, his dad, stepmother and 1-year-old sister were the only survivors.

Nine of Raiden's family members did not make it. They were his grandparents, cousins, and an aunt.

His uncle is still missing.

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