Texas flooding victims pleaded for help in 911 calls

AP News
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Posted: Jun 10, 2015 10:25 PM
Texas flooding victims pleaded for help in 911 calls

SAN MARCOS, Texas (AP) — Recordings of 911 calls reveal frantic requests for help from people staying in homes along the flooded Blanco River in Central Texas, including a woman who said the house she was in was "floating."

Hays County released the recordings Tuesday to the Austin American-Statesman (http://atxne.ws/1HrkV5S ). The calls came in over Memorial Day weekend, when the area saw heavy rains and massive flooding.

Nine bodies have been recovered in Hays County. The victims include Laura McComb, 34, who called to report water was creeping higher and there was no way to escape.

"We are on the Blanco River in Wimberley, and the water is up to the second story into the house," McComb said. "It's coming up to the second floor. I mean it's so high up. And we have no exit out."

The dispatcher advised avoiding the attic, where rising water can trap people, and said rescuers would be there soon. McComb did not say during that call that she was sharing the house with eight other people, including three children, who were vacationing, the newspaper reported.

Fifteen minutes after McComb's call, a man who didn't identify himself called from the same address, got disconnected and then called back. "We need emergency rescue," he said. "The river has flooded around the house. We're at the bottom of Deer Crossing Road."

The operator told him that the address was already in the system for a rescue and asked, "Has anything changed?"

"Well, I mean, we're running out of breathing room," the man said. The operator said to get everyone to the roof.

Five minutes later another 911 call came in from an unidentified woman, and the phone connection went in and out. At one point, she did mention that three children were in the house.

"Hello! Our house is down! We're floating!" she said. "Our house is off the thing, and we're floating!" She said three children were in the house. The operator responded, but the line then went dead.

Minutes later, neighbors reported seeing a house floating down the river and smashing into a bridge.

McComb's body was recovered May 30. Five other people in the house have been found dead along the river. Two children remain missing, including McComb's 4-year-old daughter. The woman's husband, Jonathan McComb, was seriously hurt but survived.

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Information from: Austin American-Statesman, http://www.statesman.com