Travis County first responders rescue nine people from flooded roads, homes

First responders in Travis County had a busy night helping locate and save victims from flooded areas.

In total, STAR Flight rescued nine victims and two dogs.

"Nine rescues in one night is a significant event," said STAR Flight paramedic Brian Hoffower.

STAR Flight triple staffed helicopters overnight in anticipation of the rain and also had help from Austin Police helicopter Air 1.

Still, the storm that hovered over East Austin Thursday night created a scary situation for drivers and first responders alike.

"If it's at night and there's cars in the water, it's one of the most difficult things we do," Hoffower said.

Several drivers in east Travis county found out the hard way just how powerful flooded rivers and creeks can become.

"There was a victim that was sitting on her door, kind of hanging onto the roof, and there was a fireman that had come into the water to attempt a rescue, but then he became stranded himself it appeared," said Austin Police Department tactical flight officer Steven Lindsay.

APD Air1 monitored the victim and the firefighter until STAR Flight was able to perform a rescue.
Both of them were pulled from the water safely.

STAR Flight was also called to help save a few people from flooded homes.

"It involved a gentleman whose home simply flooded. The water rose slowly and consistently enough that he had no exit route at all to get out. So he climbed a tree, got on the roof of his house, called us and we were his only option," said Hoffower.

When flooding happens as quickly as it did Thursday night, police say smaller, less-traveled low-water crossings may not be barricaded right away. That's why they want to remind everyone to take precautions when traveling on stormy nights.

"Water's unpredictable. At night it's even worse because you don't have the visibility, you're not able to necessarily judge the depth of the water and it's unpredictable. It just can rise so quickly. A car's not a safe place to be if there's a low-water crossing, you should turn around," Lindsay said.