A Houston television news team saved the life of a truck driver stranded in rising flood waters on Sunday morning.
KHOU reporter Brandi Smith was broadcasting live from north Houston’s beltway when she saw a tractor-trailer surrounded by water, its cab filling up with water with the driver still inside. At least 20 inches of rain have already fallen on the city as the result of Hurricane Havey.
“The lights are going on this truck and the windshield wipers are going and as we get a little closer, it does look like there is someone inside. There is movement inside of this truck.”
When Smith realized a driver was inside, she called out to him.
“Sir, are you OK? Can you get to the top of your vehicle? Can you get to the top of your truck? Do not climb into the water.”
Moments later, a Harris County Sheriff’s Office truck and boat came in Smith’s direction. She flagged down the truck, whose passengers said they didn’t know about the stranded driver.
“There is a truck driver stuck here in about 10 feet of water,” she told them before turning back to the stranded driver.
“There is water filling his cab and I'm trying not to break your eardrums as I scream,” Smith told viewers as she beckoned down to the driver. “Sir, there is a boat here!”
As the sheriff’s officials prepared to put their boat in the water, one of them told Smith that a truck driver in the same location last year died when he was stranded in flood waters.
“We had to dive for him because he passed away and went underwater,” he said.
“Sir, they’re putting the boat in just now! They are on their way!” Smith yelled.
She turned back to viewers, her voice cracking. “I cannot imagine how terrifying it would be to be in that place right now. Put yourself in that place: your car is filling with water. Help is on the way, he is incredibly lucky.”
As Smith watched water threaten a driver’s life, water was inundating her colleagues back at KHOU’s station.
“Two feet of water in the station and they are evacuating the building right now,” she said. “Those are the kind of circumstances that we are dealing with. catastrophic, dire, life-threatening. Do not take any chances.”
KHOU’s managing editor captured the flooding as it happened.
Minutes after Smith called out to rescuers, the flooding knocked KHOU off the air.
Despite that, Smith and her cameraman captured the driver’s rescue on Facebook.
“I just thank God that you all were here to put me back on land safely,” the driver told Smith.
“This is going to sound rude, but, can I hug you?” she asked.