WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Officials with the Washington County, Tennessee Sheriff’s Office said multiple agencies were on scene of a water rescue Thursday morning around 11 am.
According to authorities, the call came into a home on Hulse Road where two people had to be pulled from Kendrick Creek.
We’re told an adult male was rescued fairly easily, while a younger male was pulled partially into a drainage tile, and had hypothermia.
“The story that I was told is that they were going out into the water to remove some debris from the floodwater from the tile in front of their driveway,” said Washington Co. Johnson City EMS Captain Keith Ellis.
Ellis is also on the swift water rescue team and was one of the first to arrive on the scene to pull the father and son to safety after being swept away in rushing floodwaters from Kendrick Creek’s overflooded banks.
He said the father was rescued fairly easily but his teenage son was already pulled into the drainage tile under the driveway and was becoming unresponsive.
“The only thing visible was from his shoulders up,” recalled Ellis. “The rest of him was completely submerged and being pulled into the drainage tile underneath the driveway. “
The Fall Branch Volunteer Fire Department and the Washington Co. Sheriff’s Department also responded helping to create a rope system to pull him out.
“I was actually the one that swam out. I brought him to the driveway,” said Ellis. “When I got him to the driveway I couldn’t feel a carotid or arterial pulse…his core temp was in the low 60s once they got him to the med center.”
Before leaving the scene, the teenager was put into a medically induced coma.
As of Friday evening, there is no update on his condition. But Capt. Ellis says this is a reminder to everyone to stay out of floodwaters.
“Swimming in a pool or lake is completely different than swimming in swift water,” says Ellis. “The force of the water, the pull of the water- once it has a hold of you, no human can swim against it, no human can swim out of it.”
Ellis recalls the scene as one the swift water team prepares for, but never wants to see.
“A lot of people see it as a waste of resources but you never know,” he said. “You absolutely never know where or what’s going to happen…yesterday was our something that happened.”