Austin PD officers rushed into dangerous currents to save the lives of 3 women and their dog, who were trapped inside their vehicle during a flood.
(Editor’s note: Scroll down to see the video of the rescue.)
Heavy rains gave way to dangerous floods in Austin, Texas last Friday, trapping 3 travelers and their dog in their vehicle while water rushed past.
Those 3 women and their pup are now safe, thanks to the quick and brave actions of Austin Police.
As the flood waters rose, authorities received a 911 call alerting them to a woman crying out near Old Bee Caves Road.
Officers Benjamin Cochran and Matthew Valli were among the first on the scene. They said that when they arrived they saw a car stuck in rushing waters on a bridge. The woman in the passenger window was leaning out of the car, screaming for help.
“I was like, ‘We just need to do something now or they’re going to go over, and it’s not going to end well,'” Officer Valli said.
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The officers wasted no time in plotting their course of action. Officer Valli put on a life vest and tied a rope to it and two other officers held the other end tightly.
Then Valli ran straight into the flood waters, reaching the car as it continued to drift toward going over the bridge.
“Both Officer Valli and I are former lifeguards, and we had training in the military with helicopters, crashes and things like that in the water. So we were both in the same mindset about how to act within the water. And we didn’t really have time to think,” Officer Cochran said. “We just applied what we had known. We had some training in the academy as well with throwing the rope to victims, and so we used that training and entered the water. And knew how dangerous it is – even just two to three feet, the current is so strong, it can sweep you off your feet.”
Pulling the first victim from the car went smoothly – the water was low enough for her to walk alongside him, but the waters were continuing to rise.
They pulled the second and when they went back for the third woman and the dog, the entire car began to slide and the three began to be pulled under because of the intensity of the current. The other officer rushed out to the car and grabbed the remaining woman and her dog, pulling them toward shallow water.
The intensity of the current can be seen as water rushes around them. The owner cried out when the dog pulled free and ran back toward the car, but after calling him repeatedly, the dog trots to safety.
When asked about how to rescue a dog in situations like this, Officer Valli said, “We never trained for it, so we just learn as we go…You want to do the best you can. I was – hey, I’m a dog lover myself. I’d be upset. I understand like, your human life is a little bit more important, but if I can still rescue the dog, I’m still going to do my best.”
The officers breathed a sigh of relief and a laugh after the rescue was all said and done.
“I think we were placed there for a reason,” Cochran said.
Though the water was only waist-deep, officers want to remind everyone how dangerous the strength of the current is.
“A human being that weighs 200 pounds isn’t going to stand a chance,” said Officer Cochran. “Please, it’s not worth it. Turn around, take the extra five, ten minutes because it’s not worth getting caught in your car and potentially drowning.”