Flash Flood Catches Ava Man Off Guard
Emergency Responders Perform Successful Rescue
Donald Lamb, 25, of Ava, said he did not intentionally drive into the flooded Cowskin Creek last Thursday morning.
When he approached the low-water slab on Highway Y west of Ava before daybreak, he had no idea the creek was flooded.
Lamb told emergency responders that he came over the hump as he approached the creek and lost site of the road. That’s because it was about 2 feet under water.
At 5:24 a.m. Thursday, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office received a call of male subject and his vehicle being washed off the bridge at Cowskin on Y Highway.
Sheriff’s deputy, Sgt. Vernon Johnson, responded and found the male subject, identified as Lamb, standing on the bridge in approximately 2 to 3 feet of water. There was a large tree washed against the upstream side of the bridge which kept the rushing water from striking Lamb, and it allowed him to stand up.
Sgt. Johnson notified Sheriff Chris Degase who in turn requested the assistance from the Ava City Fire Department and their large fire truck.
Sheriff Degase and two firefighters rode on the back of the fire truck as it backed onto the slab. A rope was thrown to Lamb who was instructed to tie it around his waist.
With the rope secured, he attempted to walk off the slab with the rescuers holding and pulling on the rope.
Lamb took only a few short steps before being swept off his feet by the rushing water which had now risen to 3 feet deep, according to the MoDOT depth marker. The sheriff instructed the fire truck to begin pulling off the slab and the victim was pulled to safety.
Lamb sustained minor abrasions to his arms and legs during the water rescue and a Cox Ambulance was dispatched to check him out.
Sheriff Degase said that in addition to deputies from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and firefighters from the City of Ava, that Ava Rural Fire Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol also responded to assist.
The Ava area had received about an inch of rain overnight, but not enough to cause significant flooding. However, the Cowskin watershed northwest of Ava apparently received some 5 inches of rain during the overnight hours which resulted in the surprise flash flooding at the Ava crossing.
One firefighter said the water rose a foot during the time the rescue was being executed, then began to recede just as quickly.