Training firefighters happen upon man struggling in floodwaters

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Firefighters taking advantage of the swollen bayous for swift water training were able to put that training to use sooner than expected.

The water rescue team out of Fire Station 10 came across a man clutching a tree in neck-deep water Tuesday morning.

"He was holding onto a tree with one hand. He waved at us with the other and he was up to his neck in water," firefighter James Boyd said.

He and fellow firefighter Richard Saul were out on their boat during floods when they spotted the man struggling. He told the firefighters he'd been out in the water for hours.

"He was very tired. He was dehydrated and the water was moving quite quickly," Saul said. "Our training just kicked in."

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Many of the rescues from the latest round of flooding involved people being stuck in their vehicles who were able to call for help. This victim didn't have a phone when he became overwhelmed in the water, firefighters said.

"People don't really realize just how quickly the water is moving and how hard it is to stay afloat and move through the water like that. So, it's very important for people to stay cautious and not try to enter the water," Saul said.

The victim was treated and is expected to recover, but a reminder for others? Guardian angels happening by on rescue boats aren't guaranteed.

"He was very excited. He told us thank you and he was very appreciative," Saul said.

In vehicles, drivers are often told "turn around, don't drown." The rescuers said that advice is true for pedestrians as well.

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