3 people rescued from under downtown bridge due to rising water

Charly Edsitty Image
Friday, April 7, 2023
3 people rescued from under downtown bridge due to rising water
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Three people were rescued from under a downtown Houston bridge at Franklin and Smith due to rising water from heavy rain overnight.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Three people were rescued from rising water in downtown Houston after heavy rainstorms overnight.

ABC13 was there as Houston Fire Department crews pulled out rescue trucks and a tower ladder to help the people stuck in the water.

The people were sleeping underneath the bridge at Franklin and Smith when they became trapped.

Since the water in the bayou was moving swiftly, there may have been debris, and it was still dark, HFD didn't rescue them by boat. Instead, firefighters lowered the ladder into the water, where everyone climbed to safety.

Jerry Cates, one of the people rescued who is homeless, told ABC13 he felt "very thankful. Very blessed."

"It's been raining all night. It was pretty bad," Cates said, adding that the water rose very fast.

HFD District Chief Hunter Schappaugh said the fire department has had to make rescues in this location before when the water was higher, forcing people to find something to hang onto or sit on rails.

Outside of this rescue, Schappaugh said crews hadn't seen any other issues overnight in the downtown area, but his teams stayed ready just in case.

"People tend to underestimate the power of water, in their vehicles, in situations like this. The whole 'turn around, don't drown' mantra seems kitschy, (but) can't reinforce it enough. Six to eight inches of water will sweep you," said Schappaugh, noting this area was also underwater during Hurricane Harvey.

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