Family trapped by flash flood rescued by Emery County volunteers
GREEN RIVER, Utah — Volunteers quickly jumped into action to save a family trapped by a flash food in Emery County Thursday evening.
It happened around 7:00 p.m. about 8 miles north of Green River on Highway 6. Volunteer firefighters from the Green River Fire Department responded to the call to find a mother, father, and their 9-year-old daughter trapped in the car.
“They kept their cool, that family definitely kept their cool. That was a big help in it,” said T. J. Hughes, a volunteer firefighter who responded to the scene.
Hughes has been a volunteer firefighter for 6 years and says Thursday’s storm came in as quickly as it left, but the result of it was a flash flood powerful enough to knock the Salt Lake family’s vehicle about 30 feet off the road.
“They’re fortunate that the car didn’t roll or anything, that it stayed on its wheels. Props to the Dad for keeping it on the wheels.”
As rescuers were quickly coming up with a plan to reach the family a local truck driver for Longwall West by the name of Joe Bruno approached the scene and offered his trailer as a bridge to rescue the family.
“Us three [volunteer firefighters], and a County Deputy all got on the truck, the guy backed us out there,” said Hughes. “The game plan was just to get the people out of the car, and we’re not going to worry about the car.”
To minimize their own risk Hughes and the other volunteer firefighters removed their turnouts, performing this rescue in their tee-shirts, shorts or pants, and socks.
“Those turnouts are super heavy, let alone soaking wet. We took them off for our safety, just because if one of us went in you don’t want that stuff dragging us down,” Hughes said. “I wish I had had actual shoes on out there instead of just socks, but us as a volunteer fire department we don’t get everything in the world, so we’ve just got to make it happen. You got to do what you got to do!”
Bracing themselves on the car, Hughes and the other volunteers pulled each of the three family members to safety, starting with the family’s 9-year-old daughter.
“She came out very first, one of the politest little girls I’ve ever seen. Got out of the car and everyone grabbed to take her to the next person to get her to the truck she said thank you as she went by.”
Hughes say the family remained calm during the recue, which helped their efforts. After they were safety away from the vehicle, Hughes say the reality of the situation appeared to set in.
“They were definitely shook up, as anyone would be after that experience, but I think they’re alright.”
Hughes credits the quick action of the volunteers on scene with bringing the family to safety.
“Our fire department there in Green River, were close, and we just work well together. We’re all out there for everyone’s safety,” said Hughes. “I couldn’t ask for a better department. “
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