Austin firefighters rescue bystander nearly swept away by water


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Heavy rains fell in Travis County Wednesday afternoon and evening, causing several low water crossings to close.

The Austin Fire Department had to rescue a man who was actually trying to help someone else on such a crossing on State Highway 71.

Firefighters got the call about a stranded car in the water just after 2:30 p.m. But when AFD arrived, they realized the driver of the car had gotten out.

Now, a bystander in danger of getting swept away was the one who needed help. He was trying to help the driver push his car out of the water.

He was able to catch himself on a pole before firefighters were able to save him, AFD said.

“Was hanging onto the pole, in a very precarious situation, with the water rapidly rising, a lot of logs and debris coming down the creek itself that could have knocked him off, he very easily could have been knocked off and swept away,” explained Division Chief Thayer Smith.

The crew got a throw bag and luckily, pulled the man to safety within a matter of seconds.

Firefighters say the throw bag isn’t typically their first choice, but with the water quickly rising and only one crew out there, it was the option they could use.

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