Four Dead, Swept Away in Wyoming Washout

Several other U.S. Forest Service roads and one agency bridge also were washed away.

 

 
 
 

BOB MOEN, Associated Press | | Wednesday, July 20, 2011


CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Four members of one family died after their vehicle drove into a washed-out section of a mountain highway in Wyoming and was swept downstream by a raging creek as they fled torrential rains at a national forest campground.

A local emergency management official who was responding to the accident early Tuesday hit the same washout and plunged into the creek before being rescued about two hours later.

"I consider myself very fortunate. I was wondering if I was going to see my family again, to be quite honest with you," John Zeiger, Carbon County emergency management coordinator, said in a telephone interview from his hospital bed.

The Wyoming Highway Patrol said the accident occurred early Tuesday after heavy rain caused flash flooding along a stream that passes under Wyoming 130 about 20 miles from Saratoga in the southern part of the state.

The patrol says at least two vehicles, including the one driven by Zeiger, went into the 25-foot-wide breach and were swept away.

A Carbon County Sheriff's Office plane flew over the area to see whether any more vehicles were washed into the creek.

The names of the four family members killed have not been released.

Patrol spokesman Stephen Townsend said a fifth member of the family survived and was taken to Carbon County Memorial Hospital in Rawlins. Townsend said he had no immediate word on the person's condition.

Heavy rain began around 7 p.m. Monday and continued until near midnight, prompting authorities to begin clearing out three area campgrounds after midnight, Townsend said.

The family, which was traveling in a van, was among those fleeing the campground, he said.

Townsend said it is not known exactly when the van went into the creek.

Zeiger was traveling alone and responding to the situation and his vehicle plunged into the creek around 1:30 a.m., Townsend said.

Zeiger said he was heading to check out the exact location of the washout, which he thought was farther up the highway.

"I called the sheriff's office and headed that way, and as soon as I turned the corner ... I just didn't see it," he said. "I went down into the Brush Creek myself, and probably rolled once or twice, and it came back up on its wheels, floated on down and got caught up in some trees, so I feel very fortunate."

At one point the water washed over his vehicle, but the water inside got no higher than his waste, Zeiger said, noting the car windows were up and didn't break.

By the time he was rescued by firefighters, the creek had receded about a foot, he said.

Townsend said it is believed that debris in the creek blocked large culverts that run under the highway and the water then tore through the roadway.

Several other U.S. Forest Service roads and one agency bridge also were washed away.

Many rivers and creeks in Wyoming already are swollen by heavy mountain runoff from a record snowpack.

Before Monday, flooding this spring and summer has been blamed for at least two deaths and an estimated $4.2 million in damage to public infrastructure and other costs.



Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, water rescue, swift water

 
What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Three Kentucky Firefighters Injured in Ice Bucket Challenge

Campbellsville tower ladder comes in contact with power lines.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

NAEMT: Transforming EMS

A look inside at the Mobile Healthcare Paramedic system.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Austin-Travis County Community Health Paramedic Program

Overview of program provides operation and referral details.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Flight Paramedic’s Perfect Weekend

Carilion Lifeguard Flight Paramedic shares what would make his perfect weekend.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Numerous Rescues during Arizona Flooding

Severe flooding across the region prompted several rescues.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Colorado Hiker Rescue

Injured hiker spent three hours in a crevice.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Airlift at Swiss Train Derailment

Helicopters used to help reach the injured.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >