Water rescue in Wayne County saves lives

Water rescue in Wayne County saves lives

WAYNE COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - A water rescue in Wayne County took hours, but two men inside a truck that was swept away by floodwaters made it out safely.

Volunteers say they were just doing what people in the Piedmont and Patterson communities do best, helping neighbors in need.

The water rescue happened Sunday night in the midst of a storm.

"The water was very fast," Wayne County Sheriff Dean Finch said.

Finch said it all happened after a driver tried to cross over a flooded concrete bridge over Clark Creek.

"The driver had swam back across and got out. The passenger was in that tree," Finch said.

Crystal and Bobby Henson live across the street from the scene. They say they heard cries for help and called 911. Soon, local stepped up and joined rescue efforts.

"They were just needing a boat to help rescue someone out of the creek," said Wally Griggs, a resident of Patterson.

Griggs said he was in bed when he heard about the accident over the scanner and went to help with his boat. Griggs along with two law enforcement got in the boat and went to help the man stuck in the water.

"[We] too much weight in the front of the boat and it capsized," Griggs said.

That is when Sheriff Finch says the rescue got even more intense.

"Whenever you see something to the effect of a boat capsizing right in front of your eyes and someone as a friend that you know very well and two fellow officers, it makes your heart drop," Finch said.

"I was able to get to the bank reasonably easy but I was concerned about the other guys and the guy in the tree, they had taken a rough ride," Griggs said.

State Trooper Richie Ayers was in the boat when it flipped. He then swam to the victim and held onto him until more troopers and rescue boats arrive to bring them to safety.

The sheriff said when the driver started across the bridge, the water swept the vehicle away and rolled about 400 yards downstream.

Locals say it's a miracle the victims and rescuers made it out safely.

"There was a chance of five lives being lost and by the grace of God there were none," Finch said.

Griggs said Trooper Ayers and Piedmont Police Officer Josh Pratt showed bravery that helped save lives that night.

"They're fine people if they'll risk their lives to assist someone that we probably barely knew, if knew at all," Griggs said.

Sheriff Finch and Griggs are now giving credit where, they say, credit is due.

"To God be the glory, without a doubt. Thank you lord," Griggs said.

The passenger in the truck was taken to a Poplar Bluff hospital. Hospital officials say he is now recovering there.

Copyright 2014 KFVS. All rights reserved.