Good Samaritan rescues grandmother from neck-deep Kentucky floodwaters

Incredible video shows Good Samaritan rescuing grandmother from neck-deep Kentucky floodwaters as death toll from disaster climbs to 28 with more bodies expected

  • 98-year-old woman was stuck in her home in Whitesburg, Kentucky, when it became completely submerged
  • The moment they were saved by an anonymous man was captured as he swam through their house window
  • Kentucky’s governor Andy Beshear predicted bodies will continue to be found ‘for weeks’ as death toll rises

This is the incredible moment a Good Samaritan rescued a 98-year-old and her family who were trapped inside their home amid ‘devastating and deadly’ flooding in Kentucky which has left 28 dead.

Missy Crovetti, from Green Oaks, Illinois, said her grandmother Mae Amburgey, uncle Larry Amburgey and her brother Gregory Amburgey were in the home in Whitesburg, Kentucky, as it completely flooded, with photos showing 98-year-old Mae sat on her almost-submerged bed.

As he drove to get petrol on Thursday morning, local man Randy Polly came across floodwaters which left him stranded on a patch of dry land not far from Mae’s home.

He captured the moment he saw a ‘hero’ save Mae and her family from the rising waters. Filming from a small distance away at around 9am, the man swam over to the house and started banging on the door and window before entering the house and helped bring the family members out of the property.

‘Devastating and deadly’ flooding in Kentucky has left 28 dead so far. Pictured are Kentucky National Guard Soldiers and Airmen in a boat across a severely flooded area

Kentucky National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are pictured aiding flood relief efforts in response to the devastating floods

Rescue team speak to community members about three people that are unaccounted for on Highway 476 in Jackson, Kentucky

A Perry County school bus and other debris are seen in a creek near Jackson, Kentucky on Sunday. The death count is now at 28, with more expected in the coming days

The anonymous man’s rescue took around 30 minutes – and the three relatives are said to be safe and doing well, Missy Crovetti told CNN.

Mr Polly told the news outlet that as he watched this scene unfold he could hear people shouting, ‘Get me help, get help,’ and that 911 calls amounted to nothing as the emergency serves were ‘overwhelmed’ and ‘unresponsive to his calls’.

Kentucky’s governor Andy Beshear predicted bodies will continue to be found ‘for weeks’ as the death toll from devastating flooding rose to 28 on Sunday, with rescuers continuing a long and grueling effort to locate victims.

Some areas in the mountainous region are still inaccessible following the flooding in the state’s east that turned roads into rivers, washed out bridges and swept away houses. Off-and-on rain plus poor cell phone service are also complicating rescue efforts.

Rescuers in Kentucky are taking the search effort door-to-door in worsening weather conditions as they brace for a long and grueling effort to locate victims of flooding that devastated the state’s east. 

‘This is one of the most devastating, deadly floods that we have seen in our history… And at a time that we’re trying to dig out, it’s raining,’ Governor Andy Beshear told NBC’s Meet the Press.

‘We’re going to work to go door to door, work to find, again, as many people as we can. We’re even going to work through the rain. But the weather is complicating it.’

The number of dead in the flooding, caused by torrential rain that began on Wednesday, is expected to rise even further.

‘We’re going to be finding bodies for weeks, many of them swept hundreds of yards, maybe a quarter mile-plus from where they were lost,’ Beshear added.

The governor toured flooded areas and made stops in three counties on Sunday. Across the rain-soaked portions of the state, more than 350 people are living temporarily in shelters, he said.

Receding floodwaters had left a thick coating of dust on the streets as dark clouds presaged more rain ahead.

Some 35 miles (55 kilometers) south in the tiny community of Buckhorn, volunteers at a distribution center had 700 to 800 people had come through on Sunday alone to collect donated supplies ranging from food to paper towels and toiletries.

Rescuers in Kentucky are taking the search effort door-to-door in worsening weather conditions as they brace for a long and grueling effort to locate victims of flooding that devastated the state’s east

The North Fork Kentucky River, which flooded due to heavy rains in parts of eastern Kentucky, in Jackson County, Kentucky

Debris surrounds a badly damaged home near Jackson after historic flooding swept through eastern Kentucky, leaving many with devastated homes

Corissa Creek (left) and Haley Gayheart help clean at the house of a friend who is eight months pregnant and unable to clean in Jackson, Kentucky

The floods hit a region of Kentucky that was already suffering from grinding poverty, driven by the decline of the coal industry that was the heart of its economy, taking everything from people who could least afford it.

‘It wiped out areas where people didn’t have that much to begin with,’ Beshear added.

Some areas in eastern Kentucky reported receiving more than eight inches (20cm) of rain within 24 hours.

The water level of the North Fork of the Kentucky River at Whitesburg rose to a staggering 20 feet (6.09m) within hours, well above its previous record of 14.7 feet (4.4m).

The National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center said: ‘The threat of flash flooding will continue through the afternoon and early evening hours from showers and thunderstorms with very heavy rainfall rates.’

President Joe Biden has issued a disaster declaration for the Kentucky flooding, allowing federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts.

The eastern Kentucky flooding is the latest in a series of extreme weather events that scientists say are an unmistakable sign of climate change.

Nearly 60 people were killed in western Kentucky by a tornado in December 2021 – a disaster that Beshear said offered lessons for current efforts on the other end of the state.

‘We learned a lot of lessons in western Kentucky on those devastating tornados about seven months ago, so we are providing as much support as we can and we are moving fast from all over the state to help out,’ he told CNN on Saturday.

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