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Six rescued from flooded bridge in Crawford County

As severe rain storms and rising waters become more frequent across Kansas this time of year, many drivers may find themselves facing flooded or washed out roads.

While it may be tempting to cross the road, Joey Adams says don’t do it.

Adams is the director of Crawford County EMS in southeast Kansas. His team had to carry out a rescue operation for six people over the weekend when they attempted multiple times to cross a bridge over Lightning Creek that was overrun with rushing water.

“If there’s water on the roadway you should turn around,” Adams said. “Don’t attempt to enter it.

“It doesn’t really require a whole lot of water on the roadway to move a vehicle.”

Crawford County Sheriff Dan Peak said Lightning Creek usually swells after the area receives a lot of rain.

“It’s not uncommon for Lightning Creek to go beyond its banks, but not usually to the extent it did this weekend,” Peak said Monday. “It’s one of those typical instances where most people are able to escape from, but the current was stronger than anticipated.”

Six people became stranded in the surging water on Saturday morning, according to a news release from the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the release:

Jonathan Rowe, 13 was driving an ATV across the bridge when it was swept out from under him. Following Rowe was a pickup that was also swept away, but not before LaDonna Anderson, 46, and Linda Johnson, 50, were able to seek refuge with him on the bridge.

The three phoned Travis Gideon, 34, Tracey Cook, 44, and Cody Daniels, 23, to come help. Due to the rising water in the creek, their truck stalled, stranding them on the bridge as well.

The group finally called 911 and the sheriff’s department and Crawford County EMS responded at about 8:30 a.m.

Adams said it wasn’t a complicated rescue and only took about an hour. The four-member rescue team only needed two trips to bring the six back to shore. There were no injuries.

The crew was able to carry out the rescue operation with a rapid deployment craft and didn’t require ropes or other equipment.

“If we had waited about an hour or two, we would have been in a whole different situation,” Adams said. “It was more of a flash type of flood.”

Peak said many times people may not be able to tell how fast the current is really moving.

“People don’t realize how strong the current is underneath the surface,” he said. “That’s usually the deciding factor.”

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