A mother and daughter called 911 from the roof of a van that had been washed off the road and were rescued by the Effingham County Dive and Rescue Team early Friday morning.
The pair were rescued about four miles northeast of Montrose in Cumberland County, according to Effingham County Dive and Rescue Team Commander Terry Trueblood. He said the team was dispatched to the scene just before midnight Thursday. One of his team members reached the scene within 16 minutes and five team members arrived 45 minutes later.
“The water was four to five feet deep and deeper in other spots,” Trueblood said. “A van was washed off the road and about 50 feet downstream pinned to a tree.”
Trueblood said the occupants of the van called 911 from the roof of the van.
“We had two teams ready to go and we deployed a Zodiac (boat),” Trueblood said. “It was a little hairy situation and a little dicey.”
Trueblood said they had to navigate the boat in a 5-knot current.
“Water was really rolling,” Trueblood said. “It was a tricky maneuver to pull along side and get secured.”
Trueblood said they first got life jackets on the victims. Then they got the daughter, who is about 10, in the boat, followed by her mother.
“We had to maneuver back upstream very carefully,” Trueblood said.
He said he then handed the victims off to EMS to make sure they were okay.
“This could have been quite a tragedy,” Trueblood said. “It only takes 11 inches of water to wash a car off the road. In this situation it was five feet deep. It cost them a vehicle, but it could have cost them a couple of lives.”
Trueblood said since Cumberland County does not have a dive team, the Effingham County crew was called since it was the closest dive team to the incident.
“There’s not many dive teams around,” Trueblood said. “We had to come out-of-county to get over there. Some of these rural counties don’t have the resources.”
Trueblood said once the dive team arrived on the scene the rescue was finished 10 minutes. He said Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department, Neoga Ambulance and Montrose Fire Protection District was on the scene.
Montrose Fire Protection District Fire Chief Chris Overbeck said they cleared from scene at 1:12 a.m.