Seven rescued as floods wash out road

November 13, 2008 2:02:27 PM PST
A woman and two young children were rescued from the top of their SUV as floodwaters swept over the vehicle's roof on a coastal Oregon road. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Seven people were rescued from their vehicles south of Tillamook on Wednesday night, after a two-day storm washed out a culvert and a stretch of county road above it. No one was seriously hurt.

Fire Capt. Charles Spittles in Tillamook County said Stephanie McRae and her three children were in a Ford Expedition that was swept a quarter-mile downstream and lodged against a tree. Her 11-year-old daughter managed to crawl through the broken front window and shimmy across a branch of the tree to get to safety and seek help, he said.

By the time authorities arrived, Spittles said, "the river was pounding on the roof and going over the roof."

After rescuers threw an extension ladder over a limb and dangled ropes to her, he said, McRae lashed the two children and rescuers pulled them up to safety. He estimated the children were 3 or younger.

McRae herself was getting cold and weak, he said, so rescuers tipped the ladder down to her. She pulled herself over the end and crawled along it to get to her rescuers.

Tillamook County Sheriff Todd Anderson said McRae and the two children were treated at a hospital and released.

Rescuers waded through the water to fetch four people from inside another vehicle.

The rainstorm that swept over the coast Wednesday also caused a mudslide that closed a stretch of Oregon 6 in Tillamook County. Highway workers said they hoped to reopen it Thursday. High water also impeded traffic along U.S. 101 at two spots.

In western Washington state, heavy rain swelled rivers on Wednesday, causing numerous road closures. No injuries or serious property damage were reported, but about 200 residents were encouraged to evacuate from areas along the Carbon River near Orting, southeast of Tacoma.

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