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Three dead, two missing and 31 rescued from floodwaters at N.C. campground

Published: Nov. 12, 2020 at 3:55 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 12, 2020 at 4:39 PM EST
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ALEXANDER COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Three people were killed, two are still missing - including a baby - and more than 30 were rescued as floodwaters overtook a campground in Alexander County Thursday.

A total of 31 campers were rescued at the Hiddenite Family Camp Ground off of Princess Lane near the South Yadkin River, and officials say two people are still missing.

Crews were originally searching for five missing people, including a 1-year-old child. During a press conference at 2 p.m., officials said one of the missing people was found dead inside a camper, but did not give any further details about the victim.

Later, at 4 p.m., officials said two more deaths have been confirmed.

Currently, there is one adult and one child who are presumed missing. The doors to the campers cannot be opened due to high water. Emergency personnel are continuing the search.

Charlotte Fire officials said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management received a request for the Charlotte Fire Department to deploy to Alexander County and assist Hiddenite with flood conditions.

A total of 36 members of CFD Task Force 3 will deploy with swift water and urban search and rescue assets.

Melissa Frye was on the scene Thursday morning after learning that three of her family members were evacuated, but her ex-sister-in-law was missing.

“She got washed down the river,” Frye told WBTV. “They haven’t found her yet.”

She said she was trying to get answers regarding the search process.

“I’m feeling lost, I’m sitting here praying to God that she’s okay and that she’s caught onto something and that they’ll find her,” she said.

Alexander County Sheriff Chris Bowman said he is confident in his department and the crews from surrounding areas that came to help.

“Alexander County, when tragedy happens, the people come together,” Sheriff Bowman said. “And they’ve done this in this situation too.”

Alexander County experienced major flooding during the recent storm with approximately 7-10 inches of rain overnight. Approximately 50 roads across the county have been compromised, with four bridges washed out.

Around noon, at least five boat crews were still on the water searching for the missing people. Officials said the water was so high, most doors to the campers being searched could not be opened.

The Conover Fire Department responded to the area for the water rescues around 6 a.m. Crews took boats to the campers and residents and brought them to higher ground.

In addition, a car crash happened on Hopewell Church Road in the Vashti community due to a bridge outage and high water. The person in the car was pronounced dead at the scene. Their identity has not been released.

Alexander County Emergency Services opened a storm shelter at East Taylorsville Baptist Church at approximately 7 a.m. for those affected by the flooding. There are currently 13 people in the shelter.

Some patients were being treated by EMS, but their conditions were not provided.

Conover officials also responded to a water rescue along County Home Road in Wittenburg, where a vehicle reportedly went over a bridge.

Details surrounding the rescues were not provided.

Burke County also saw rising water and at least one mudslide as the heavy rainfall rolled through. Officials say more than 10 inches fell across the county in total. Fifty roads were “compromised” by the flooding, officials said, with four bridges completely washed away.

Alexander County Schools opted to have students learn virtually Thursday in response to the flooding concerns and dangerous road conditions.

In Burke County, a mudslide closed down Mineral Springs Mountain Road.

Water was rising and moving quickly along Howard’s Creek in Burke County.

Citizens are advised to use extreme caution if they must drive, and to never drive through standing water.

If you require assistance, call (828) 632-9336 for non-emergencies or 911 for emergencies.

If you have flood damage, visit www.alexandercountync.gov/storm to submit photos and information.

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