Pittsburg County Rescuers, Driver Pulled Safely From Flood Waters

A water rescue turned even tenser when two of the rescuers were swept away.

Monday, May 25th 2015, 10:05 pm

A water rescue turned even tenser when two of the rescuers were swept away.

Peaceable Creek in Pittsburg County flooded well outside its banks - basically turning a road into a small river that one driver crossed but was washed away instead.

Monday, the water had gone down, but Sunday it was probably by about six feet up, or more.

The water was moving so quickly, it carried a truck off the road, and the driver's decision to try and cross the flooded road put water rescue crews in danger.

5/24/2015 Related Story: Three People, Including Two Rescuers, Pulled From Pittsburg County Flood Waters

The truck was no match for the water rushing across Blanco Road Sunday.

Pittsburg County Emergency Manager, Kevin Enloe, said a 54-year-old driver made it across about three feet of calmer water before he drove up the road to much deeper, faster-moving water, and he chanced it.

“Water should be respected, greatly,” Enloe said. “He said once he started in, he realized it was too deep and too swift and tried to back out and it just took his truck and landed it right there.”

As the water washed into the truck, the driver climbed out and up a tree, called 911 then held on.

The Pittsburg County Swift Water Rescue Team answered the call for their third rescue of the day.

Haywood Assistant Fire Chief, Randy Crone, and six others suited up to save the driver.

“Somebody cries for help then we come and see if we can help them,” Crone said. “It's tough, but we come through it, we come through it.”

The team, with an inflatable rescue boat by their side, waded into the strong current using a rope system, anchored on drier land.

They were almost to the victim when to two of the rescuers became victims themselves.

“It was not a good sight,” Crone said.

“The water took their footing out, they went underwater,” said Enloe. “Everybody was screaming at them, ‘cut loose, cut loose,' because the ropes were actually holding them in a V and pulled them under.”

The two were cut free after about a minute underwater; they also drifted into a tree line and held on for dear life.

“Had there not been the trees here, this could have been a really bad ending,” Enloe said.

But the trees were there, and eventually OHP's Marine boat, which saved the rescuers and the victim.

The situation is just another example of why driving through water isn't worth it.

“They have got to get that through their head, it's not worth it,” said Enloe.


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