| GEO World|
| Sixteen killed in US floods; scores missing|
| Updated at: 0547 PST, Saturday, June 12, 2010|
ARKANSAS: Flash floods have swept away entire campsites in a forest in the southern US state of Arkansas, drowning at least 16 people as they slept and leaving dozens more missing.
Survivors described a torrent of water descending through the Ouachita National Forest, catching campers and families vacationing in hillside cabins completely unaware in the dead of night.
"What is being reported right now from the scene is that there are probably about 30 people still missing," Chad Stover from the Arkansas department of emergency management, told media, putting the toll at 16.
The exact number of missing was hard to determine as the Albert Pike campground, which bore the brunt of the massive tide of water, had no registration system to show how many campers were present.
Three helicopters were scrambled to help rescuers on foot and horseback as they hunted the forest for survivors from the deluge, which saw local rivers swell by up to six meters (20 feet).
Officials brought a refrigerated truck to the forest to act as a temporary morgue, while at least 30 people had been rescued by early afternoon.
US President Barack Obama ordered federal emergency officials to be on call to help the state authorities if needed and along with the First Lady issued a special message to the disaster victims.