Reporting Team Saves Man Trapped by Floodwaters During Local Broadcast

Patricia Howard | August 29th, 2017
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Flickr

Hurricane Harvey has devastated Texas in the past week, causing rampant fear and untold billions of dollars in damage. While millions have lost their homes, the threat of losing their lives has become a stark reality. But thanks to the efforts of a local news team, one man trapped in the cab of his semi was saved from drowning just in time.

KHOU 11 reporter Brandi Smith and photographer Mario Sandoval were reporting from the safety of a freeway overpass in north Houston earlier this week when Mario noticed that the windshield wipers on a seemingly abandoned semi surrounded by flood waters down below them were coming on and off sporadically. It was then that the pair realized that someone was trapped in the cab of a semi.

With the flood waters continuing to rise across Houston, the news team had just been cut off from their news studio. The bottom floor was already flooded with two feet of water and the building was being evacuated. The broadcast had been lost just before the trapped driver was seen. As the waters creeped higher towards the truck windows, it seemed that it was just a matter of time before the rig was completely submerged.

Thankfully, Mario also spotted a Harris County Sheriff’s office truck that was heading towards them on the freeway. Brandi ran towards to the truck, arms waving, as she tried to flag them down. After alerting the group to the situation, Brandi continued to report what she saw as the men attempted to reach the stranded driver. “This is no longer a freeway exit,” Brandi observed. “It’s a boat ramp for rescue crews. Hopefully they can get to him.”

The rescue team was able to make it to the man just in time, sparing him from a terrifying fate. According to one of the rescuers, the same situation had occurred in last year’s floods. A semi had attempted to navigate the waters on the other side of the freeway and been trapped by the flood waters. Thanks to the efforts of the news crew and the rescuers, this situation turned out much better than the last.

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