A Houston news crew captured the dramatic rescue of a truck driver stranded on a flooded road Sunday.
As Hurricane Harvey pummelled Houston with several feet of rain, reporter Brandi Smith and photographer Mario Sandoval of CBS affiliate KHOU were broadcasting live from the city’s northern beltway. At one point, Sandoval noticed a semitrailer truck on a feeder road getting submerged in water with the driver still inside.
“The lights are going on this truck and the windshield wipers are going and as we get a little closer, it does look like there is someone inside. There is movement inside of this truck,” Smith said to the camera.
Smith quickly flagged down a Harris County sheriff’s department vehicle that happened to have a boat in tow.
“Are you guys headed down to the truck right here?” Smith said. “There is a truck driver stuck here in about 10 feet of water.”
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Minutes later, the two sheriff’s deputies appeared in the boat on the feeder road below. They manoeuvred to the driver’s passenger side — halfway underwater at that point — and pulled the driver out the window and onto the boat.
“I’m sure he’s very wet, very cold, very frightened,” Smith said. “I am terrified for him, so I can’t imagine the level of fear he has here.”
By the time of the rescue, the pair had been knocked off the air. However, Smith later uploaded the footage to Facebook.
One of the deputies told Smith that the location of the rescue was near where a truck driver died in similar flooding last year.
After the rescue, Smith approached the driver and gave him a hug.
“Sir, thank God you’re OK,” she said.
While Smith and Sandoval were broadcasting, they learned their coworkers back in the KHOU studio had evacuated their flooding building, leading an emotional Smith to lament the possible loss of her family photos. But against the backdrop of a sinking truck, the reporter urged viewers to leave material possessions behind when faced with mortal danger.
“Nothing is more valuable than your life and the lives of your family members, those you love, your friends,” she said.
Watch footage of the rescue below: