The teams worked for hours trying to locate the victim's missing car in Douglass Township after being swept downstream.
A pregnant woman and her 8-year-old son had a tragic end Thursday afternoon when their car was washed away by the floodwaters of Manatawny Creek, near the village of Pine Grove, which drowned in a flood sudden.
Douglass Township Police Chief John Dzurek confirmed Thursday night that the mother and son, whose identities have not been revealed, were found in their Mazda 3 along the road. dike on the north side of Manatawny Creek about half a kilometer from their last known position. in block 100 of Pine Forge Road.
Mr. Dzurek, who has been working at the ministry for more than 10 years, said that flooding coves and roads on Thursday was the worst natural disaster he's ever seen at work, as much more than it has resulted in many deaths. He added that he had received an unconfirmed report from the Township Roadmaster that more than 6 inches of rain had fallen on the scene at 4 pm.
"For 14 years I have been in the ministry, I have never seen the rain fall so fast and cause as much damage in this region as today," said Dzurek.
The crews were sent shortly before 16:30. for the report of several people stuck in a vehicle on Pine Forge Road near the Colebrookdale Railway Trestle.
The eight-month-old woman told a 9-1-1 dispatcher that she and her son were stuck in the car while water ran at full speed. The victim's phone was interrogated to determine its exact location near the point where Ironstone Creek flows. in Manatawny Creek.
Dzurek, who was one of two officers stationed at the time in Douglass Township, went on the Pine Forge Road to try to locate the stuck car. He said the floods in the area were so severe that he had never approached enough to see his vehicle, stopping at the Summit Lane intersection.
"When I drove myself in the waters, I could feel my SUV, which is high enough, wanting to get away," Dzurek said. "I managed to get out of a small dirt road, look down and I could not see anything, I turned around and tore myself apart before I was part of it."
Dzurek said he had relayed the message that fire and rescue services at sea were needed to access the broken down vehicle, but that the many flooded roads made it difficult for the crews to access the vehicle. help.
A firefighter who was put in contact with the victim was able to stay on the phone with her for several minutes before losing touch, said Dzurek, after many attempts to reconnect with her.
Dzurek said the last thing she said to the fire department was that the nose of the car was starting to go down in the water.
Diving teams and lifeboats from as far away as Schuylkill and Phoenixville Counties in Montgomery County were sent to the scene throughout the afternoon of Thursday. A rest area was set up on the bridge across Manatawny Creek on Manatawny Drive.
Reading Search and Rescue brought his team of drones to perform an aerial search of the creek. The Pennsylvania state police were flying a helicopter in the area to try to locate the missing car.
The family members of the two victims began arriving at the scene of the search around 8 pm, gathering on deck and looking into the floodwaters still raging beneath.
Dzurek said the family members were trying to understand why the victim was driving on Pine Forge Road at the time of the flood because it was a roadway on which she usually did not move .
"Almost all the roads in this township were under water, so people were going so far and turning around," Dzurek said. "Almost all roads in this town have trees down, have been destroyed or have been submerged."
At approximately 9:45 pm, a search team in a boat found the missing car about a quarter mile north of the intermediate deck parking area. Crews could see through a sunroof of the car and found the two victims inside.
More and more family members of the victims started arriving on the scene, hugging and crying on the bridge.
Dzurek said he hoped not to see another incident like Thursday again, calling the test "stressful", but congratulated the first responders.
"Everyone kept everyone informed about what was happening and the next step," Dzurek said. "I'm using the word" stressful "because Officer (Micah) Long and I were the only two to start, and that township was collapsing. Cars in the water here , cars in the water there, trees here, people stuck between two flood zones and can not go anywhere. "
A major search and rescue operation is underway Thursday night on Manatawny Creek, after passing a car in flood waters earlier in the afternoon. pic.twitter.com/rMg1SlypFp
Michael Yoder (@YoderReports) July 12, 2019
A short video showing where a woman and her son were taken less than 4 hours earlier on Pine Forge Road in Douglass Township, while Manatawny and Ironstone Brooks were flooded with more than 6 inches of rain fell in no time. @ReadingEagle pic.twitter.com/zH60U4AhUq
– Michael Yoder (@YoderReports) July 12, 2019
At the end of Thursday night, crews from all the counties of Berks and Montgomery gathered on the Manatawny Drive Bridge across Manatawny Creek in Douglass Township to assist in the search for the missing woman and her son. son. They were found in their car just upstream of this place. pic.twitter.com/mTof5qDBB1
– Michael Yoder (@YoderReports) July 12, 2019