Kentucky flooding has left three people dead, and at least four missing.
Last week, storms raged through central and eastern Kentucky, bringing torrential rain and causing flash floods across most of the state. One of the towns that experienced the most devastation was Flat Gap in Johnson County, where houses were uprooted and property was destroyed.
So far, three people have been reported dead from the Kentucky floods, and at least four people are still missing. Police have been eagerly searching for those who have not been accounted for, and on Wednesday, July 15, 50 National Guardsmen joined over 100 local and state police in their search efforts, according to CBS News.
The rescuers are currently searching through eight miles of “rugged terrain” between the towns of Flat Gap and Staffordsville, hoping to find the resident’s missing loved ones. The area holds approximately 500 homes and 1,200 residents, and is located about 120 miles east of Lexington. However, with the downed power lines and thick mud, their progress is going a lot slower than they originally anticipated.
“It just wears your legs out to walk,” said Gary McClure, the local emergency management director, according to Fox News. “You walk from here to there in that mud and you’re ready to sit down. It just pulls you down.”
“They will be going back over the same areas again and starting new searches that we haven’t gone over so far. Every inch of all this debris has not been searched through yet,” Frisby said Wednesday of the National Guard. “Just haven’t had time.”
— Shawn Reynolds (@ShawnRTV6) July 14, 2015
Scott Johnson, 34, was swept away by the strong currents as he tried to save his grandmother. He is still missing. Kevin Johnson said he last saw his son wading through the water with his 74-year-old grandmother on his back. Scott had already helped his father, uncle, and sister escape the raging waters, and was returning for his grandmother and a thirteen-year-old family friend, according to the Denver Post.
— Brandon Orr (@BrandonOrrWYMT) July 14, 2015
“We told him, ‘You can’t make it,’ ” his father recalled. “He said, ‘I’m going to get her out of that trailer.’ “
Scott managed to get the teenager to safety, only to be swept away with his grandmother, Willa Mae Pennington, who was later found dead among the debris on Tuesday, Johnson County Coroner J.R. Frisby confirmed.
“Scott wouldn’t turn her loose, that’s why he died,” said Veronica Marcum, Scott Johnson’s sister.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear declared a state of emergency, which allowed the residents to receive immediate help from the state. Authorities have estimated that nearly 150 homes were destroyed in the Kentucky flood. A shelter had been set up at the Paintsville recreation center. However, most of the displaced residents are staying with their family members or in hotels.
[Photo via Twitter]