A Kentucky teenager managed to rescue herself and her dog from rapidly rising floodwaters after creating a makeshift float to take the small canine to safety.
Chloe Adams, 17, was sleeping at her home in the city of Whitesburg on Thursday when she woke up to the house filling with water coming up through the drains and floor tiles, CNN reported. The teen tried to call 911 but couldn’t get through, and realized that she and her dog, Sandy, needed to escape.
“I put Sandy in the water momentarily to see if she could swim,” she told CNN. “But she couldn’t, so I scooped her up and went back inside, wading through the waist deep water to try to locate something that she could float to put her on.”
Needing to work fast as the waters continued to rise, Chloe said she grabbed a plastic drawer to contain the dog and then balanced that on top of a couch cushion that could float. She then swam out of the house, holding the cushion out in front of her like kickboard. She added that she knows swimming in floodwaters is dangerous, but didn’t have any other choice to get out of the house.
Chloe and Sandy made it to the roof of a building still above the water, where they waited for more than five hours until a cousin was able to rescue them using a kayak.
On Facebook, her father, Terry Adams, called his daughter a “hero” and shared a photo of the two on the barely exposed roof awaiting rescue. “My daughter is safe and whole tonight,” he wrote. “She saved her dog by putting her in a container that would float and then swam with her to a neighboring rooftop.”
He also praised their relative, Larry Adams, for rescuing Chloe.
“He does amazing things for the community on a daily basis,” Terry Adams told WHAS11 News. “This was above and beyond. We are very grateful for him.”
At least 25 people are known to have been killed in flash flooding as torrential rains pummeled Appalachia this week. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Saturday that it could take weeks to find all of the victims and get a true tally of the death toll.
Scientists have been warning for years that human-caused climate change is making extreme weather events, including intense rainfall and devastating flooding, more severe.
Meteorologist Jason Furtado explained to The Associated Press that “a warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor and that means you can produce increased heavy rainfall.”
“It’s a battle of extremes going on right now in the United States,” he said.