There’s a lot of bad news coming out of Houston, but one local news team’s quick thinking helped save the life of a stranded truck driver as the waters rose.
While covering Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath, KHOU reporter Brandi Smith and photographer Mario Sandoval spotted a man trapped inside the cab of his semi truck below a north Houston overpass. With flood waters rising, it looked like just a matter of time before the driver would be trapped, forced underwater, and possibly killed. Smith yelled out to the driver, but there didn’t seem to be much she or Sandoval could do from their position on the overpass.
The situation looked grim.
Suddenly, they spotted a Harris County Sheriff’s Office truck, towing a rescue boat, driving in their direction.
Smith waved down the passing truck, pointing them in the direction of the stranded driver. While the broadcast cut before the man was rescued — because the KHOU studio had flooded and was being evacuated — Smith later confirmed via Twitter that the rescue operation was a success and posted a follow-up clip:
As many of you know, KHOU 11 News was evacuated due to flooding. That meant my photographer Mario and I were the only ones left on air for … well … I don’t even know how long.
The #KHOU11 signal cut out just as Harris County Sheriff’s Office crews got their rescue boat in the water to pull a semi driver out of his flooded cab. I’ve had SO many people asking if he made it out OK and I wanted to share the video. (We kept going and rolling until the camera’s battery died, not knowing we’d been knocked off the air.) They pull him out around the 4:40 mark. THANK GOD for that crew.
Posted by Brandi Smith KHOU on Sunday, August 27, 2017
“First, thank you to everyone who has reached out,” Smith tweeted. “We are safe and so is Robert, the driver who was rescued.”
“Second, all the credit for that rescue goes to photographer Mario Sandoval, who spotted the truck, and HCSO crews who rescued the driver. Amazing work, you guys.”
It’s easy to lose hope in the midst of unparalleled destruction. But let’s not forget the everyday heroes among us.
This act by Smith, Sandoval, and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office is just one of dozens or even hundreds of examples of everyday heroism that will come to public attention in the days and weeks following the storm.
For those of us who aren’t on the ground in Texas, there’s still a lot we can do to help. The Houston Chronicle put together a list of organizations that need donations for victims and evacuees.
You can watch the powerful and harrowing beginning of the rescue below.
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