Survivors of San Marcos high water rescue thankful for first responders

Bodycam video obtained by FOX 7 Austin from STARFlight is of senior flight nurse Jennifer Roberts. Among those she rescued Thursday from a swollen Blanco River in San Marcos was Frank Fell.

"She was so in control it was relaxing to know that they were there, because up until that point, we were pretty sure we were not going to make it," he said.

Friday, FOX 7 showed Roberts what he had to say after he returned to a new camp under the Hwy 80 bridge. "It means a lot we often don’t get to meet anybody after the fact or hear about how people do, so it's really nice to hear those comments," she said.

The call for STARFlight to head to San Marcos came after storm water rushed down the Blanco River and into several transient campsites. Those camps are now scattered and smashed into the muddy riverbank. "It stopped raining we thought it was over and the next thing we heard a noise, didn’t know what it was and we looked out and there was a wall of water coming," said Frank Fell.

When the helicopter arrived, Roberts told FOX 7 the crew quickly realized this was not going to be a typical rescue mission. "We knew there were four people, that’s about all the information we had, four people that needed to be rescued, when we got over head it was apparent there was not just four people that need to be rescued, but four people with belongings clearly important to them, and a dog and when I got down there I found out there was a puppy involved," she said.

She was happy to see video of the puppy alive and well. "I’ve been involved in other swift water rescues, definitely that was probably the most number of victims I’ve encountered at one time," said Roberts.

Fell and the others were flown to the Hwy 80 bridge which was closed off. "Thankful to be alive, I didn’t really get emotional until I actually hit the pavement up top, yeah we were almost dead," he said.

Roberts said there was an added urgency to his rescue. "It was just nice to get him out of there, he had an injury to his foot and I knew there was no other way to safely get out," she said.

While the STARFlight Team was up in the air, there were first responders from San Marcos doing boat rescues.

"It was a huge relief I tell you man, I didn’t know if we’d make it or not," said Debi Blackard, who was one of three people pulled out of the rushing water by boat teams from San Marcos. "You didn’t have to help me out but you did, and I appreciate it very much."

It was a team effort, according to Roberts, who added after they returned to Austin they only had a quick moment to reflect on the rescue. That’s because the next call for help could be a moment away.

Access to Guadalupe River reopens, Comal River access still closed
La Grange experiences fast flooding due to rain
Flooding destroys approximately 30 percent of New Braunfels RV park
Barton Springs Pool closed until flooding stops, damage can be assessed
One RV swept away, another turned on its side following heavy rain
SUBSCRIBE: Daily Newsletter | YouTube
FOLLOW: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter