4 rescue boats capsize in NC floodwaters

Firefighters managed to rescue a mother from the waters but her two children remain missing


Muri Assunção
New York Daily News

SMITHFIELD, N.C. — Two children are still missing after a car was swept away by floodwaters in North Carolina early Tuesday morning — and the boats that were sent to rescue them capsized.

Firefighters say a mother and two kids, ages 4 and 5, were inside a car that was taken off the road by floodwaters in Smithfield, about 30 miles southeast of Raleigh, N.C.

According to the local NBC-affiliated television station WRAL-TV, the mother called 911 just after 1 a.m.

Smithfield Fire Chief John Blanton confirmed that firefighters were able to rescue the mom, but the kids, who family members say are 4 and 5, are still missing.

The department sent four rescue boats to the area, but they were capsized by the severe floodwaters.

One of the boats had rescued one of the children, but Blanton said he was “unclear where the other child was” when they capsized.

All members of the rescue team, as well as the mother, were able to get to safety.

“The water was so turbulent that the boat capsized and they lost the child,” he said. “They were able to regain the mother. During the efforts to recover or find the children, they lost four boats. This morning, search efforts have gone out, They have located the vehicle and there’s no one in the vehicle, so they’re continuing the search this morning.”

“Obviously our guys are very professional, know how to operate the boats, but because of the extreme current it was a struggle to keep them upright especially in the debris they were in,” he told reporters during a press conference Tuesday around 8:40 a.m.

“It was the water current and the dark, that was the biggest challenge,” he said. “Today, we’re just getting in there and fighting the water receding right now. And understand that the sheriff’s office is handling the search today.”

Blanton said that the effort to find the children is still being conducted as a search, and not as a recovery mission.

According to ABC11, the area is under a flood warning until 10:45 a.m. After the fog clears, an helicopter will assist in the search for the children.

———

©2020 New York Daily News

 

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Recommended for you

Join the discussion

Copyright © 2020 FireRescue1. All rights reserved.