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13 rescued from flooding in Golden Valley storm

The force generated by raging floodwaters crushed the windshield of this Honda after its driver, a Fort Mohave resident, became trapped in the Sacramento Wash. The van in the background fared little better. (Courtesy)

Calls kept coming in until after midnight

GOLDEN VALLEY - Thirteen was a lucky number on a stormy Sunday night in Golden Valley when fire departments from across the region rescued that many people caught in flooded washes.

The 911 calls began at about 7 p.m. and people were still being rescued after midnight, according to Golden Valley Fire Chief Tom O'Donohue.

The first rescue occurred on Estrella Road and Bolsa Drive, where a family of four became trapped inside their truck. Two crews from stations 11 and 12 rescued the family.

At the same time, according to O'Donohue, a mother and her son sat on the roof of their van "in the middle of a raging Sacramento Wash" on Estrella Road. Rescuers from Golden Valley and a Mohave County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue unit responded.

O'Donohue said rescuers struggled to pinpoint where the cries for help were coming from.

"A coordinated effort from the GVFD to locate and some extremely brave work by MCSO Search and Rescue resulted in a true save on this incident," said O'Donohue.

Members of the Kingman Fire Department and a Golden Valley crew from Station 13 in Walnut Creek rescued a woman driving a U-Haul who was swept off the Oatman Highway. Water pushed the vehicle downstream and flipped it backward, said O'Donohue.

The woman managed to stay on the phone with dispatchers as water began to fill the cab nearly to the top of the dashboard.

O'Donohue said rescuers "braved some tense situations, making critical life-and-death decisions to ultimately save this woman's life."

Firefighters with the Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire Department got into the act and rescued two adults and four children who were trapped in their truck on Shinarump Road.

Northern Arizona Consolidated Chief Patrick Moore led the successful operation.

O'Donohue praised emergency responders for the "professionalism, bravery and talent" they displayed in the rescues, saying some people were "saved from certain death."

Once again, however, he reminded people to never cross washes during rainstorms. Doing so, he said, puts their lives in danger as well as the lives of their rescuers.

"Motorists can't tell how deep the water is until it's too late," he said. "Drivers should simply wait until the rainwater recedes."


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