Local News

Tarboro Residents Evacuate From Flooding Via Helicopters

Posted September 17, 1999

— Two people have lost their lives in Edgecombe County; one in a drowning, another in a car accident. Ten more are missing and feared dead.

But rescuers are doing all they can to evacuate people from their homes in flooding areas.

A military helicopter touches down in Tarboro, delivering evacuees to the safety of dry land.

Linwood Martin was reluctant to leave his home in Greenville, despite warnings that it was time to go. The rapidly rising flood waters changed his mind.

"We got scared," says Martin's son.

"The water was rising kind of high so we had to evacuate," Martin says.

Coast Guard choppers ran more than two hundred rescue missions Friday and Saturday, picking up 400 people from their homes along the Tar River.

"They say no thank you, we're gonna stick it out, we've seen this before," sayd LCDR Tim Frazier of the U.S. Coast Guard. "And lo and behold, the next day we're back trying to pick up the people we just told to get out."

By the time this group of evacuees got out, there wasn't much time to pack. Most stepped off the helicopter with the few belongings they could carry away from their flooded homes.

"They told us you couldn't see nothing but the top of the house. The whole town is under water. We don't have nothing. We lost everything," says evacuee Brenda Pittman.

The group was transferred to Johnson School over near Rocky Mount. All the shelters in Tarboro had been filled.

These evacuees have probably seen enough flood water to last them a lifetime. But as they boarded buses bound for local shelters, they eagerly accepted gallons of bottled water.

Resources like this are scarce at the shelters in which they will be staying.

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