A viral photo of a group of senior citizens trapped in waist-deep water during Hurricane Harvey is tugging at the heartstrings of people all over the country.
The photo shows a group of elderly men and women at the La Vita Bella Nursing home, located in Dickinson Texas, sitting calmly in the quickly rising waters. The residents were trying to wrap themselves in blankets and save whatever personal belongings they could as the water continued to fill the room. The heartbreaking photo received national attention after being posted by Timothy McIntosh, whose mother-in-law owns the nursing home. McIntosh shared the photo on Twitter and captioned it by saying, “La vita Bella nursing home in Dickinson Texas is almost underwater with nursing home patients.” The photo, which some deemed to be fake, quickly went viral, prompting an emergency evacuation of the nursing home facility.
According to ABC News, Galveston County Commissioner Ken Clark said that approximately 20-25 nursing home residents were safely rescued from the building. David Popoff, Dickinson’s emergency management coordinator, also confirmed to Galveston County Daily News that the senior citizens in the photo were evacuated from the facility in the 3500 block of Oak Drive by helicopter. Galveston County Judge Mark Henry also confirmed the rescue during a press conference on Sunday.
“We were air-lifting grandmothers and grandfathers,” Popoff said.
McIntosh continued to share updates on Twitter throughout the day.
“Need help asap emergency services please RETWEET,” he wrote, followed by, “Latest update on La Vita Bella home in Dickinson, TX.On “purple” high priority list. Coast Guard on route right now for rescue.#HoustonFlood.”
By 1:00 pm on Sunday, McIntosh had confirmed the rescue by tweeting, “RESCUED!! Thank you to the National Guard & the Galveston City Emergency crew for our rescue; @GalvestonOEM #houstonflood @NationalGuard.”
McIntosh later spoke to ABC News and said he is very grateful for the people involved in the rescue. He added that he doesn’t think this story would have had such a happy ending if his photo hadn’t received the attention it did.
[Featured Image by NASA/AP Images]