Local News

Grim Search Moves Into High Gear

Posted September 25, 1999

— Now that some of the floodwaters have receded, and survivors have found shelter, the grim work of dealing with Hurricane Floyd has not ended. The task of locating other possible victims continues.

Ironically, the death toll from the flooding in North Carolina continues to rise as the water level goes down. Forty-seven deaths are now blamed on the hurricane and its flooding in North Carolina.

In Pitt County, hundreds of deputies have been searching areas under water for more than three days, as well as other areas where the water has left behind empty houses and mud puddles.

"We're going to do whatever it takes -- on foot, in boats, vehicles," says Pitt County sheriff Mac Manning.

Search dogs are part of each rescue team, trained to sniff out human bodies.

Manning says it is too early to tell what all they may find under the water.

"The areas that are still under water now, those areas may have been some of the first to flood, and that's where we may have more potential victims.

So far, rescue teams have searched Friday, Saturday and Sunday and have not found any more victims.

Four people died in those Greenville floodwaters, but Manning says those bodies were found soon after they died last week.

Sheriff's departments across the state are helping in the rescue efforts. More than 295 deputies were searching in Pitt County Sunday, where there are only 50 usually.

A group of Cumberland County Sheriff's deputies and two search dogs also packed up their gear and left Sunday to assist in the search, where they plan to stay for at least a week.

Cumberland County sheriff Moose Butler says the group is ready to battle some tough conditions.

"We're going into areas that that are very wet. Diseases around. We are prepared to stay as needed," Butler says.

The sheriff intends to swap out deputies if the search mission continues for more than a week.

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