Woman rides flooded river for 20 miles clinging to piece of debris


JUNCTION, Texas (KXAN) — Four people remain missing in the South Llano River in Texas after flooding early Monday washed out local RV parks in the Kimble County town of Junction.

Flooding is expected to reach the major level of 23 feet in Mason Monday evening and in Llano Tuesday morning.

Charles Randle, who has lived in Junction for 80 years, pointed to an elevation mark on the bridge over the river, marking the highest it was at in the 1930s.

“Us folks who’ve lived here all our lives, we know you don’t want to build something close to the river,” he said.

So far, there are no confirmed deaths. Crews saved 19 people through boat and helicopter rescues and around 40 others with life jackets and throw ropes. The Texas Game Wardens is using a drone and using the information it receives from it to plan for other rescue efforts. The drone helps see debris so the game wardens can safely navigate the waters.

One woman survived after being swept down the river for more than 20 miles while clinging to a piece of debris. It’s a story capturing the attention of many local residents.

“She’s in her mid-50s, got out with no real injuries, she’s bruised, she’s scratched, but walked out on her own, on her own merit and has quite the story to tell,” Rachel Kellner, a Texas game warden, said.

“I don’t know how she made it, with the current and logs floating around the river,” said Randle.
Though the river was lowering early Monday evening in the Junction area, first responders say it’s still unsafe.

“After a flood like this, this waterway is full of RVs and vehicles, sheet metal, barns, parts of barns, barbed wire,” Kellner said. “Riding down a river is one thing, but the amount of obstruction that is in the water right now is what makes it so dangerous.”

The Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Task Force One, the Texas Forest Service, local law enforcement and first responders are currently staged in Junction and monitoring the river. More than 50 people are on the scene.

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