Police chopper Air 1 rescues people trapped by flash flood


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Police Department helicopter Air 1 rescued multiple people trapped between two flooded low water crossings in eastern Travis County.

Rescue crews were first called to FM 969 near Blake Manor Road around 10 p.m. Monday when eight people called for help from an Exxon gas station. That is near Webberville.

Jessica Serrano said she received a call from her sister, who was stuck between the rising water:

“It was devastating. We jumped up. I work; my sister works. But we rushed. It’s our family, and we have to rush to see what’s going on,” said Serrano.

Officials say the water was more than 5 feet high on both sides.

“The water did rise very quickly,” Austin-Travis County EMS Commander Wesley Hopkins said. “And I think that’s what caught everybody off-guard. One of the low water crossings flooded, and when the other one indeed flooded again, they were trapped in the middle, and that caused some concern.”

Two teams of rescuers made their way across the flooded roadways to the stranded people. Three people were pulled out by Air 1, including one person who was stranded in the bed of his truck and later hoisted out.

“During the rescue the basket was used to hoist an individual off a truck that was actually in the water on the roadway,” said Hopkins. “He was in the bed of the truck. It was secure, and it appeared that it wasn’t going to wash the truck off the roadway. But he was hoisted with a basket. When we went to remove the patrons from the Exxon, a little safer operation was to land the aircraft between the two low water crossings on dry ground and put those individuals in the aircraft to remove them to a safer location.”

The other two people left the gas station after the helicopter landed.

One returned to dry ground with rescuers on foot. Four others decided to stay at the gas station until waters receded. No injuries were reported during the rescues.

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