Emergency personnel respond to injured man stranded by flooded roads
MARTIN, S.D. — Following heavy precipitation and widespread flooding in the region, an injured man became stranded at his ranch west of Martin on Wednesday.
At around 1 p.m., the Martin Volunteer Fire Department responded to a call from a concerned wife that her husband needed to get to the hospital because of an injury he sustained, but water running across the road was blocking them from getting out.
Martin Fire Chief Chris O’Bryan contacted the local ambulance service, which quickly dispatched a 4×4 ambulance. He also contacted Bennett County Emergency Manager Jeff Siscoe, who was already in contact with local county officials concerning county wide flooding and road issues.
Upon arrival, personnel used a probe while walking across the roadway to determine if it had been washed out. The water was approximately a foot deep and swift.
“Footing was difficult but personnel were able to determine the roadway was still intact, but deterioration of the roadbed was progressing,” the Martin Volunteer Fire Department wrote in a release.
At this point the couple had arrived in a 4×4 truck. Responders made the decision to act quickly and have the patient cross in the truck before the water became any higher or the roadbed further deteriorated. Rescuers proceeded to cross the water and assist the couple. A Bennett County Ambulance driver drove the truck back to where an ambulance was waiting and the patient was then transported to a medical facility.
According to FEMA, six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and potential stalling. A foot of water will float many vehicles. Rescuers were confident however that the larger, heavier 4×4 vehicle could cross, and worried that delaying rescue would further complicate the situation.
The Martin Volunteer Fire Department says the wife did the right thing in contacting authorities, and advises that anyone who comes upon floodwaters running across a roadway stop and not cross. Anyone experiencing an emergency should contact 911.
“Flooding waters can conceal a washout or missing culvert, and paved roads may be undermined below the pavement not visible from the road surface,” said the MVFD in its release. “Better to wait until water recedes or find a different route … In this case, the wife did exactly the correct thing and the incident was mitigated with no further injuries or danger to the civilians or rescue personnel.”