Sheriff rescues driver from 4 feet of water in southwest Nebraska floods

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Six feet of standing water is over U.S. Highway 61 near Benkelman, and a pickup truck is floating through it.

Several flash flood warnings were issued in southwest Nebraska as some places got over a foot of rainfall through Thursday night into early Friday morning.

Dundy County Sheriff Clinton Smith said this is the worst flooding he has seen in the area.

“We weren’t prepared for it,” Smith said. “And when I got called out of bed at 2:30 this morning, I was surprised that they were saying there was a vehicle stuck in water.”

Smith said he quickly rushed to help save the driver, who was still stuck in his pickup truck.

But the storm was so bad that it was difficult to do anything at all.

“The water was about 4 feet deep when we got the driver out of the vehicle,” Smith said. “When I got up there, the rain was so hard and so fast and so thick that vehicles parked right next to each other couldn’t even see each other with emergency lights on.”

The truck was partially submerged when they rescued the driver.

And luckily, he is doing alright.

But after rescuing him, the water only continued to rise.

“We can’t see the conditions under the water,” Smith said. “The water is about 6 feet deep and it’s not flowing water, it’s sitting water.”

He said since they weren’t ready for such heavy rain, they didn’t have time to evacuate.

And nearby, in Stratton, he said the southwest corner of the town was completely underwater.

“They had rolling water. There were cars floating down the river. They still have some cars sitting on the railroad tracks that got washed into the tracks,” Smith said.

The pickup driver wasn’t the only person who needed help in the area.

At least 12 people had to be rescued across southwest Nebraska from flooding.

Several roads remain closed, including Hwy 61.

Smith said this was a good lesson for people to remember to be safe when traveling in flood conditions.

“If you come up on water on the highway, don’t chance it no matter what because you can’t see what’s under it,” he said.

Categories: Nebraska News, News