Coast Guard rescues four trapped by flood

Coast Guard rescues four trapped by flood
ORTING - Firefighters, sheriff's deputies and the Coast Guard were able to rescue a family of four that became trapped when their van got stuck in fast moving waters of the flooding Carbon River Tuesday morning.

The van got stuck just after 11 a.m. in the 22300 block of 177th Street East. The four inside managed to climb on top of the van's roof and wait for help.

"They were wet, they were cold, they were scared and they just wanted to go home, just wanted to be out," said Puyallup Fire Department river rescuer Jeff Pugh.

Firefighters and sheriff's deputies were able go wade through the rushing water to get to the family and hand them floatation vests, but they decided it was too dangerous to try to get them back to shore on the ground.

The Coast Guard then dispatched a rescue helicopter from Port Angeles and they were able to pull all four people to safety. So one by one the Coast Guard helicopter crew lifted the four flood victims to safety. It was delicate operation because of the heavy currents and because of the heavy woods.

Bill Dean was one of the people lifted to safety by the helicopter and said he actually enjoyed the ride. "I liked it," he said. "I'm a Vietnam Vet. I've done it a bunch of times."

Tracy Enoch was also in the van and said she was scared more of the river than the helicopter ride. "The lift was fun, that part wasn't scary at all," she said. "It was getting tangled up in all of the stuff flying down the river. Your leg is crushed and you realize the river is rising."

Two family dogs that were also in the van were also pulled onto rescue boats and made it to shore safely.

"It was so cool they saved my dogs," said Barb McCoy. "That was what I was really worried about. I didn't care about the house. I was just caring about the people and my dogs because I did not want to leave them behind. I was just determined to take them with me no matter what."

McCoy thanked the rescuers for taking the time to save her dogs. "I was really frightened because when they got us up into the helicopter and they started to take off and I started crying and making a big scene and they felt sorry for me and said 'we'll get your dogs, we promise,' " she said. "And they are just awesome, awesome people."