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Monday, April 16, 2007

Woman Rescued from Vehicle Along Saugatuck

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By Jennifer Connic

WestportNow.com Image
Stranded driver: “I was afraid I was going to get sucked into the water.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo ©2007 WestportNow.com

A road barricade fell down this afternoon, and it meant a water rescue for a Weston woman who tried to traverse the high waters on Clinton Avenue near Ford Road.

While the flooding has receded along the coast and many roads were opened this afternoon, the upper areas of Westport along the Saugatuck River and its tributaries were still under water.

The Saugatuck River was rushing by Ford Road swollen from the heavy rains of the nor’easter that pushed through the region Sunday, and today the water flooded one home at the bottom of the hill from Clinton Avenue.

The waters had risen to thigh level on Ford Road, and a Weston woman, who wished not to be identified, said she didn’t think the flood waters were that deep because the barricade was down and it was shallow at the bottom of the hill.

“I started to drive through thinking it wasn’t that bad,” she said after being pulled from her car by firefighters using a National Guard high water rescue vehicle. “All of the sudden it was too deep. The barricades were down, so I thought it was O.K.”

The woman, who was driving a sports utility vehicle, said she was driving home and was taking her normal route.WestportNow.com Image
A Connecticut National Guard vehicle maneuvers into place today to rescue a woman trapped in her car in flood waters on Clinton Avenue near Ford Road. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo ©2007 WestportNow.com

“I should have never come this way,” she said. “I was afraid I was going to be sucked into the water and down the river.”

Her car stalled because the water was too deep, she said, and she called 911 seeking help.

Assistant Fire Chief Gene Maloney said the fire department received a call about the car being stuck, but it was unclear if there was anyone in the car. Once on scene, it was clear someone was in the vehicle, he said.

Westport firefighters responded to the scene along with two Connecticut National Guard troops—who are assisting emergency workers throughout the storm event—in a high water truck to save the woman, Maloney said.WestportNow.com Image
Onlookers join Westport police, firefighters, and a Connecticut National Guard member watching today’s rescue of a Weston woman from her car trapped in flood waters on Clinton Avenue near Ford Road. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo ©2007 WestportNow.com

Firefighters from the dive team were in the vehicle and waded through the thigh-high water to save the woman.

The woman said she was able to stay dry in the vehicle, and the firefighters opened the door, secured a life jacket and safety rope on her before pulling her to safety in the truck.

“They were amazing,” she said.

The Weston woman was not the only one rescued from a vehicle during the two days of the storm that caused flooding in many Westport neighborhoods, including the downtown area, Saugatuck Shores and the Compo Beach area.

First Selectman Gordon Joseloff said before this afternoon’s rescue that there had been five rescues from vehicles over the course of the storm event.

Posted 04/16 at 08:34 PM

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