Toddler rescued clinging to her mother's body in Houston
A toddler has been rescued and is now in a stable condition in hospital after she was found clinging onto her drowned mother's body in a flooded canal during Tropical Storm Harvey, which has battered parts of the US for nearly a week now.
A Beaumont fire-rescue official said that it is believed that the mother was trying to save her 18-month-old from a flooded parking lot when they were swept away into a nearby by ditch by the powerful flood-waters. The police and fire rescue team, who are using boats in their rescue missions, found the pair downstream about half a mile away from the parking lot.
Tragically, despite the daughter being alive but suffering from hypothermia, the mother was unresponsive at the scene.
According to the National Weather Service, squalls from storm Harvey were pounding the Beaumont area at the time of the incident with up to two inches (five centimetres) of rain an hour and winds of 38 mph (60 kph), which is reflective of just how extreme the weather conditions were at the time of the fatal incident.
Captain Brand Pennison, a spokesman for the Beaumont fire-rescue department, told the BBC that police had initially dispatched emergency services when the woman's vehicle was spotted in high water, on a road near Interstate 10. However, a witness has said that they saw the woman pull into a flooded parking lot, where her car eventually became stuck. In attempt to free herself and the child, the woman got out of the car and tried to walk away, only to be overcome by a nearby overflowing drainage ditch.
The Beaumont residents were rescued by two firefighters and two police officers, who turned up just before they were swept under a railway trestle, where the water was too high for a boat to be able to follow. They began performing emergency CPR on the little girl, and despite their best attempts to resuscitate the mother, she sadly remained unresponsive.
Mr Pennison said that after a short while trying to recover the family, a neighbour arrived in his pick-up truck to transport them to a nearby ambulance. The police have decided to withhold the identity of the mother and daughter, until the father, who was out of town at the time of the tragic incident, has been notified.
Tropical Storm Harvey, which reached hurricane status a few days ago, has ravaged and destroyed parts of the greater Houston area, leaving tens of thousands of people without homes and leaving more than 20 people dead, a figure which is expected to rise significantly once the water begins to recede.
Authorities and volunteers are doing all that they can to rescue those involved and provide aid to those that need it, and multiple operations across the city are still ongoing. It's a truly horrible incident to have happened to this family and our thoughts are with them and all of the people who have affected by the storm.