Special Report: Flooding Life or Death

Reported by: Sally Pitts - bio | email
Posted by: Mario Hendricks - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Just six inches can knock you off your feet. A depth of two feet will cause most vehicles to float.

Nearly half of all flood deaths are vehicle related.

Driving down flooded roads, no matter how well you think you know the situation, can be a deadly decision.

"Scared and cold."

ToddSpivey was facing death after his car got caught in flood waters.

The water rushed in but Spivey couldn't get out.

"I just thought this is it, this is it"

But just as he thought he was breathing his final breaths, volunteer firefighters came to his rescue and pulled him to safety.

Many people aren't as lucky. Nearly 200 Americans lose their lives in floodwaters every year.

May 7th, 2009, a Montgomery man died after flood waters swept away his car.

Fire fighters say the number one rule if you come across a flooded road is "Turn Around Don't Drown".

But if you're car is carried away, time is critical.

A simulation showed what could see during a flash flood.

After a camera was placed inside a car. We watched the car thirty seconds after entering a river.

Water begins to enter the car. Less than two and a half minutes later, water was above the front seats and almost covering the outside of the windows.

The pressure would make it nearly impossible to escape if someone was inside. Only twenty seconds later, the car is submerged and seven seconds after that, total darkness. In less than three and a half minutes, the car had vanished.

Rescue crews used sonar equipment to try and locate the car.

"If it's a solid black, that shows density. If it's a solid black boomerang with white underneath, that shows something dense on top with air underneath it. This here is the car. It shows dense and then hollow underneath."

A diver hooks up the car and a tow truck reels it in.

Our car was empty, but if someone had been inside he chances of them surviving are slim.

But Todd Spivey beat the odds.

"I'm gonna think about what am I doing here," said Spivey.

If you're ever caught in flood waters there's a tool that could save your life.

It will slice your seatbelt if you can't get it unbuckled. It can also be used as an escape hammer that will knock out your window, giving you a way to escape.

But again, the best advice is to just avoid flood prone areas.

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