After ending up trapped in her Kentucky home in the middle of a flood, an older woman finally made it out alive thanks to viral photos reaching the right quarters at the time.
98-year-old Mae Amburgey barely escaped with her life after the Kentucky apartment she resided in became waterlogged. The water level rose to 4 feet, trapping the older woman inside.
Mae tried several times to call for help, to no avail, as most of the phone lines were down due to the flooding. Eventually, her granddaughter, Missy Crovetti, got wind of the situation and sprung into action. In a feat of desperation, she turned to her last resort, reaching out to netizens to champion the rescue.
Crovetti shared a photo of her grandmother inside her Whitesburg home, seated in the ice-cold water that had seeped into her home.
Although the water was already waist-deep, as Crovetti revealed, the older woman managed to keep a part of her body above water by sitting on a raised object with her leg immersed in the water below. Mae recalled:
“When I woke up to read the news, I found out there was flooding, I immediately reached out and nobody was answering their phone call.”
Mae Amburgey being rescued from the flood. | Source: youtube.com/ FOX Weather
In her desperation, Crovetti could only hope in her heart that netizens would help circulate the word until it reached the right quarters. Accompanying the photo, she wrote:
“My grandmother, Uncle and Brother are trapped in her house across from the high school. If anyone has a boat around that area, the water is about 4 feet deep in the house.”
The shot soon went viral, attracting the attention of residents of the Eastern Kentucky community, law enforcement, and rescue teams.
Missy Crovetti, Mae Amburgey's granddaughter. | Source: youtube.com/FOX Weather
A HEROIC RESCUE
Before long, a safety team stormed the vicinity hoping to rescue the trapped woman. A video from the heroic rescue operation shows the group wading through the flood, which was already neck-deep, close to the roofline of Amburgey’s home.
According to Crovetti, a man had to break into the home through a door or window, hang her in a buoyant cushion, and make their way out. The clip showed the group of four holding the older woman in place as they pushed her through the deep waters against the current.
The journey to safety wasn’t exactly smooth, as aside from struggling to keep the woman from sinking, they got caught up in some debris, where they remained until the professional rescue team got to them.
Some of the damage caused by the flood. | Source: youtube.com/FOX Weather
Thankfully, everyone made it out of the disaster alive. However, Amburgey was immediately transported to a hospital for urgent medical care. Asked how her grandmother was faring, Crovetti shared:
"She’s doing really remarkably well. It’s her second day in the hospital and she is banged up pretty hard, but she is determined to go home."
Amburgey’s granddaughter also extended words of gratitude to everyone that collaborated in the rescue efforts to lead her grandma to safety.
THE FAMILY OWE THEIR LIVES TO A KIND STRANGER
Crovetti’s account shows that her grandmother was not the only one trapped in the home, as her uncle Larry Amburgey and Brother Gregory were also trapped in the building.
Neither succeeded in reaching the emergency lines as they were either down or overwhelmed by too many distress calls due to the flood. However, before the family lost hope, one kind stranger swam over to the house as the water kept rising.
As seen in the video, he broke in through the window and helped the grandma and the two others trapped out of the house. While Amburgey was out of danger, she suffered a laceration in her leg and was diagnosed with pneumonia.
Some of the damage caused by the flood. | Source: youtube.com/FOX Weather
Larry, in his seventies, also suffered severe water inhalation and had to be placed on a ventilator. Notwithstanding, the trio is responding to treatment despite the family's fear for Amburgey's safety due to her age. Crovetti divulged:
“We’re hopeful, but also terrified because of her age.”
Missy Crovetti, Mae Amburgey's granddaughter speaking in an interview. | Source: youtube.com/FOX Weather
Meanwhile, Crovetti has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help raise money to support her grandmother's treatment and help the family bounce back from the effects of the devastating flood. The page has since garnered up to $13,346 of its $25,000 goal.
The Amburgeys remain grateful to the kind stranger who braved the odds and took it upon himself to rescue the family. None know the name of their rescuer, but an eyewitness identified as Randy Polly, who captured the videos, described the mystery man as a hero.
Mae Amburgey being carried out of the water. | Source: youtube.com/FOX Weather
NETIZENS REACT TO THE ENCOUNTER
The story of the heroic rescue has stirred up a conversation online as netizens commend the swift response of everyone that contributed to the rescue.
Others sympathized with the family for having met such a fate while wishing them a swift recovery. Commenters wrote:
“O my goodness. I’m so sorry they are dealing with this.”
― (@Nancy Wojciehowski Pecora) July 25, 2022
“So sad. My heart is breaking. All I can do is pray for everyone.”
― (@Joyce Fitch) July 25, 2022
A comment from the post made by Missy Crovetti. | Source: facebook.com/Missy Amburgey Crovetti
“Our aunt Mae. I visited her in the hospital yesterday. She is still in good spirits. I got to hear her tell me the details of her rescue. She is the strongest woman I know.”
― (@Ella M Fields Caudill) August 1, 2022
“Jesus! I’m sorry, Missy. If there is any way I can help clean up her home, please reach out. I will help in any way I can.”
― (@Shawn N HeatherLind) July 25, 2022
Crovetti also shared an update in the comment section, revealing her brother remained unaccounted for. In another update, she confirmed her brother was sighted at her grandmother's place but said nothing about his state of health.
THE AMBURGEYS ARE SURVIVORS
Notably, not every family trapped in the flood was as fortunate as the Amburgeys. Records show that at least 26 people lost their lives in the Kentucky flood as of Sunday, July 31, 2022.
This figure may increase as the community faces a level 3 of 4 moderate risks for excessive rainfall per the Weather Prediction Center.
Meanwhile, the National Weather Service put a flood watch in effect on Monday morning from parts of Southern and Eastern Kentucky.
The disaster first hit the vicinity on Wednesday, July 24, following heavy rainfall that flooded the area. This forced residents to seek higher grounds while others fled their homes as they became swept off the foundations.
The Amburgeys are one of a few families in Eastern Kentucky to have made it out alive after becoming trapped in the middle of the disaster.
Hopefully, more safety measures will be put in place to curb the recurrence of such events in the future, ultimately ensuring the safety of residents.
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