Three children playing in a dry riverbed were lucky to escape unscathed when a wall of water came rushing toward them after monsoon rains had swept through Tucson.

The three children, ages 8, 10 and 12, were playing in the Rillito River just west of La Cañada Road at about 6:30 p.m. when they saw what Northwest Fire District spokesman Capt. Adam Goldberg described as “a wall of water” coming toward them. The children scrambled to get to a high spot in the riverbed and became trapped on a sandbar in the center. The water around them was full of debris and the children could not get to the riverbank.

It took nearly half an hour from the time fire crews arrived on the scene to suit up and retrieve the children. Additional crews were standing by as a backup teams as well as downstream spotters in the event any of the children or the rescuers lost their footing while making their way out of the riverbed, Goldberg said.

“We got very lucky with this one,” Goldberg said.