BC floods: Residents share painful prison escape stories
NO MORE THAN, ALTA. – For many Canadians, seeing images of the aftermath of the BC floods was shocking, both in terms of the unprecedented number of people affected and the catastrophic damage caused by the relentless rainfall.
But survivors of some of the worst storms are still struggling to come to terms with their experiences – many of them life-threatening.
CTV News spoke to many BC residents affected by the floods, including survivors of the mudslides that raged on Highway 7. Here’s their experience in their own words.
‘IT LOOK LIKE A DEAD Pedestrian’
Robert Doolan was on his way back to White Rock, BC from the lake with his niece when road closures forced them to divert to Highway 7 between Hope and Agassiz, BC Not long after turning onto the freeway, Doolan said he feel like something is wrong.
“Something told me to slow down, and I’m glad we did. Otherwise, we’d be in a slump,” he told CTV News Channel on Tuesday.
“Everything around us started to shake and it went from seeing the tail lights turn black in front of us. There were two cars ahead of us… I didn’t understand what was going on, they were turning around.”
It took Doolan a moment to understand what had happened – a landslide swept several cars ahead of them onto the road.
“We jumped out of the truck. There were people screaming for help, there were two cars that we could see… it was all blurry,” he explained.
“The people who made it out of the car… I can’t believe they even made it through. Honestly, it looks like a corpse coming out of that car. “
Caught between an unstable hillside and the Fraser River, Doolan helped a couple, Ken and Laurie, whose car was swept away in the slide, keeping them safe and warm in his car. overnight while they wait for rescue.
“This is terrible. We were not safe, I didn’t sleep at all. Laurie coughed loudly out of her lungs. No one could get to us, we were blocked from both sides,” he said. “We were completely helpless.”
Doolan and his niece were later evacuated by air and taken to shelter in Agassiz. More than 300 people were eventually rescued along the highway.
“I can not sleep. Apparently, they didn’t get everyone to evacuate there. We were lucky… we were on the second helicopter. But I felt terrible getting on that helicopter… maybe there were more deserving people instead of us,” he said.
‘I MISS THE SOUND’
Chelsea Hughes was also trapped in a mud slide on Highway 7, forced to spend the night on top of her car after it pushed off the road in the slide.
“It looked like it was happening in slow motion but it was over before I knew it,” she told CTV Vancouver. “I remember the sound of just being pushed through the earth.”
Hughes, who was partially submerged in a marshy area below the road, was able to escape thanks to a broken sunroof. With others around, she kept in touch with first responders throughout the night waiting to be rescued.
“Last night I tried to go to sleep and I could only hear it,” she said, beginning to cry. “It was so scary, just sitting in our car in the swamp we could hear another landslide. The roar of the falling earth and the creaking of the trees… we don’t know if it will come back to us.”
‘I HAVE BEEN SWIMMING CONTINUOUSLY IN THE DRAGON’
In Yarrow, BC, Jordan Jongema watched for hours as his childhood home was quickly engulfed by floodwaters.
After delaying evacuation earlier in the day, Jongema realized by mid-afternoon he would not be able to navigate the flooded roads.
“I wouldn’t say it’s slow… it’s fast. I make a little notch in the wall in my kitchen and every 30 minutes it goes up about an inch. It was midnight, I was wading. through the kitchen. [it was] on my hip,” he told CTV News.
“I’m literally swimming in the backyard… it’s like a Hollywood script.”
When the water reached the second-floor bedroom window of his childhood, Jongema resorted to placing some of his belongings on the roof to try to save them.
It was not until 3:30 a.m. that he heard a boat crossing the flooded road to save him.
‘I HAVE NOTHING LEFT’
Barkad Khan and his family, wife Afreen and daughters Mahveen and Mahira, were given just 10 minutes to get out before their home in Merritt, BC flooded.
“It’s gone. Under the water. Everything is gone. I have nothing left. There’s nothing to go back to,” Khan, who moved to Merritt in March from Calgary, told the Canadian Press.
With just enough time to throw some clothes into a suitcase and leave, Khan said he had to borrow money from friends to get his family into the hotel, repeatedly told by officials he would need to wait. a phone call. Place an order to receive any support.
“I’m here right now and you know what he’s saying – if you don’t die, there’s nothing we can do for you. At least show compassion,” Khan said. “You have no idea how much we lost. We have lost everything. This is wrong.”
– With files from the Canadian Press