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82-Year-Old Rescues Driver From Flood

Last updated on Wednesday, April 24, 2013

(TIPPECANOE COUNTY) - After recent flooding, some roads are still closed to motorists.

However, water levels on roads near the Wabash River have started to dry up, according to WLFI.

"This was just all water as far as you can see," West Lafayette resident John van der Aa said.

Van der Aa, 82, lives off of north River Road in West Lafayette. He said especially where he lives, when it rains, he said it pours. But when his front yard floods, he's never surprised.

"We came here in 1957 and the Wabash would always flood over at least twice a year," van der Aa said.

But what did surprise van der Aa this past round of flooding was what he spotted floating by in high waters just in front of his home.

"This pickup truck came from the south and it got stuck right down here," van der Aa explained.

He said after several attempts to help save the motorists he found something in his yard to help make the rescue a success.

"This boat here, we used to get them out," van der Aa explained.

But rescue crews said situations like those can be avoided if motorists just avoid flooded roads.

Lafayette Fire Captain Tim Franscoviak said the most common reason cars get stranded is because motorists underestimate the depth of the water.

"Water is deceiving," Captain Franscoviak said. "Normally the water is darker in color. You can't tell how deep it actually is. People try to go through it and their cars can get swept away and engines can drown out. It's just not good practice to try and drive through any water what so ever because you don't know what the road conditions are underneath.

However, Franscoviak said if you do find yourself stranded in your vehicle in water, it's important to stay with your car.

"If you have to exit it if the water is coming over the window, exit through your windows or your doors," Franscoviak said. "Stay on top of the vehicle if you can. Get all patrons and children out. They may need assistance. They're going to be scared and nervous."

Franscoviak said emergency crews train specifically on how to properly rescue someone from flood waters.

He said they were called out during the weekend to rescue four people from the Wabash, after they were canoeing.

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