Having ravaged the southeast coast of the United States over a five-day period in October, Hurricane Matthew finally turned eastward, out to sea — but not before it wreaked substantial havoc and fatalities in the state of North Carolina. So while it never reached the Mason-Dixon line, the state of New York weighs in significantly in today’s post-Matthew follow-up news.
New York’s Rescue Efforts
Detective Russell Thatcher, who works for the NYPD’s Emergency Services Unit, waded through waist-deep flood waters in Lumberton, NC to save two pups trapped in a home that was partially submerged.
Photos posted on Twitter pictured Thatcher carrying the two lapdogs under each arm to reach a rescue boat, where his partner — an FDNY firefighter — was waiting to assist.
In addition to the dogs, members of the New York Task Force Team 1, which includes city firefighters and police officers, navigated dangerous flood waters in Fayetteville, North Carolina to rescue three people stuck in a sinking SUV.
Due to their efforts, passengers were able to escape from the vehicle and climb to the roof, enabling the first responders to drive up to them in a boat and pull them to safety.
“Kudos to New York Task Force Team 1 for their assistance in rescuing local residents,” the City of Fayetteville posted on its Facebook with a video of the dramatic rescue.
Drone & Social Media Rescue
In another NC rescue case, a drone and social media played a role in rescuing another dog affected by the storm. Chris Williams and his dog Lana were sequestered at his residence, when floodwaters inundated his home — with enough force to break down their front door. Williams refused to leave the house without Lana, who apparently did not know how to swim. After not being able to reach anyone at emergency services, Williams and Lana went to the top room of the house, where he attempt to reach out to his brother on Facebook.
"I tried to track down every emergency services in North Carolina and I found a bunch of numbers and I called them all, and they were all either busy or their phone services were down," Craig Williams said. "That is what surprised me most, was that the 911 systems were down."
When they was lack of responses from Facebook, Williams turned to Twitter where he was able to attract the attention of Quavas Hart who had been tweeting photos of the floods taken by his drone.
Hart tweeted instantly noting he was in the area, a few streets over where he was flying his drone. He told Williams of his surprise to hear of his plight, since he thought everybody in that neighborhood had been evacuated. Hart then flagged down a Federal Emergency Management Agency rescue team nearby to come to Williams' and Lana's rescue.
A short while later, Williams and his dog boarded a FEMA boat and were taken to safety. His brother Chris said he is still amazed as to how they were able to coordinate this rescue. "Keep in mind, all this happened when all the phone lines were down and there is no power," he said.
Humanity to the Rescue
More so than neighbors helping neighbors, it is refreshing to hear about strangers who are ready, willing and able to come to one’s aid in a time of crisis. Williams put it best when he said: “You see a lot of negative things and you hear a lot of awful stuff, but the reality is there are a lot of good people in this world and if you just ask, they will do the right thing," Williams said. "This is one of those moments when humanity came together."