Thread: Heroes amongst us
12-30-2007, 02:52 AM #1
Heroes amongst us
Father and Son No Less Than Heroes During Lewis County Flooding
Boistfort Bridge Rescue: Family Stranded on Roof as Home Detaches From Foundation
Posted Dec 10, 10:38 am. E-mail this article to a friend.
By Dan Schreiber
This week in Lewis County, there were too many heroes to count. Many people who were rescued from Monday’s surge of dirty river overflow went back out into the dangerous waters to save other people. Few will deny that each account is harrowing and inspiring. But perhaps one of the most dramatic stories took place at the start of it all, on Monday morning at Boistfort Bridge where floodwaters moved up to state Route 6 quickly and unexpectedly.
Father and son Gary and Dan Dorning were responsible for saving at least two young members of the Cook and Bornstein family, who were trapped on the roof of their unstable house near Doty, several miles past the bridge.
Lewis County emergency divers waited as Dan sped away in his WaveRunner toward the stranded nine people. At least half an hour passed while Josh Whaley waited nervously as his good friend Dan, who had taken off work for the rescue, raged through the teeming debris-laden flood. Also at the bridge was Washington State Department of Transportation official Gary Dorning, the former wrestling coach at Adna High School who knows many residents in the inundated valley, and who was there that day volunteering while his own house was under severe threat.
Finally, through the increasing rain, Dan returned with two small children - Tianna and Brian Cook. He was wet and shivering, with a wide-eyed and aggressive look. The children were turning purple, Gary said, and they were rushed into his SUV before being taken to higher ground in Adna. But seven people remained on the roof and for Dan, there was no time to think.
“It’s like my dad always says - no brains, no pains,” said Dan, who is an extreme sports enthusiast. “I like adrenaline, but that was a little too much adrenaline.”
With a soon-to-be important rope draped on his shoulders, Dan headed again into the soupy danger, with full trees in the 20 to 30 mph rapids. But he hadn’t even made it back to the roof when the motor of the small WaveRunner was incapacitated - clogged with floating grass and tree pieces, a common problem for all volunteer rescuers on Monday and Tuesday.
“I got back up to where their house should have been and my jet ski stalled out,” Dan said. “Honestly, all I could think about is all those people were out there and I was going to be alright if I just kept my cool.”
Dan floated on the small craft for six hours in the rising, frigid mud water. Fear of colliding with large broken trees soon became a stark reality as the unmerciful timber poked out of the murk to hit Dan in the head and ribs.
“It was my ribs and my head and my hands. I swam down and grabbed onto a branch,” Dan said, adding that he tied the WaveRunner to the tree after it capsized in the deluge that caused hypothermia for the unfortunate who fell into it this week. “I was probably in the water for two or three minutes.”
Disoriented, he somehow found a way to high ground - a house on the hill. He reached safety, but his family didn’t know that.
“He took off cross country about two and a half miles and somebody took him in,” Gary said. “We didn’t know if he was alive or dead until 8 last night (36 hours later).”
Meanwhile, fear grew for the Bornsteins and Cooks as the structure sustaining them became extremely unstable and eventually began to float down the river. A news helicopter brought them supplies, but didn’t have enough space to take them away from danger.
The roof was completely destroyed, along with the rest of the house, just after they were finally taken up by a U.S. Navy helicopter.
“He’s a hero to me,” Jeff Cook said Tuesday from a flood victim shelter in Pe Ell.
Jeff was one of those on the roof, trying to protect his family.
“If it were not for all of these brave people, we would have ended up in the river,” he said.
Days later, Jeff would see pieces of the house scattered about several area fields. Brian and Tianna were mistakenly reported as fatalities by media when rescue workers arrived and found only seven people instead of the nine originally reported. Although that caused unnecessary emotional stress for family members waiting on dry land, everyone ended up safe.
As for Gary and Dan, the rescue was - like they said - a no-brainer. While they were on the bridge and in the water, Gary’s house took on a lot of water, ruining some of his most precious possessions, including some antique guns. He talked Tuesday night about the episode as he was staying with some of his extended family in Centralia.
“It’s kind of funny - we helped these people, and then people end up helping us,” Gary said. “I don’t care to have recognition, it’s just important to me that everyone got out.”
If Monday’s rescue is any indication, Gary’s ideas about how people should relate to each other has definitely been passed to a new generation in Dan.
“My dad would do anything for anybody at the drop of a hat,” Dan said. “He doesn’t really tell me how to act. You just watch him and you learn.”
Dan Schreiber covers county government and environmental issues for The Chronicle. He may be reached at 807-8239 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
12-30-2007, 03:02 AM #2
Willmar man honored for saving life of fisherman
Carolyn Lange, West Central Tribune
Published Tuesday, December 11, 2007
WILLMAR – A 20-year-old Willmar man was commended Monday for his bravery in saving the life of a fisherman from the frigid waters of Eagle Lake on Oct. 27. “I did what I could,” said Nathan Dale, in a quiet voice, as he stood before the Kandiyohi County Commissioners, gripping a “life-saving” plaque he received from the county sheriff’s department. The commissioners and county staff gave Dale a standing ovation. He grabbed a couple of life jackets, got on the family's personal watercraft and went to investigate, finding two men floundering in the water.
01-01-2008, 11:27 AM #3
01-01-2008, 03:38 PM #4
01-01-2008, 03:42 PM #5
01-01-2008, 04:01 PM #6
LOL...one way to limit the amount of words in a post is to change the permitted characters...the moderation of the site could easily reduce posting sizes....
Happy New Year, mine already started out crummy, I hope this isn't a warning. Too bad there are no guarantees or warranties that come with it!
My daughter had a fever yesterday...then it broke after midnight and since she was out of it most of the day, she awoke in bliss as if nothing had happened and wanted to stay up till 4 am wide awake...I cannot say the same for me. I'm a train wreck. LOL
01-01-2008, 04:05 PM #7
01-01-2008, 07:47 PM #8
01-02-2008, 08:40 AM #9
LOL....groovy...yeah good advice, great fellowship..thanks for being cool.
01-24-2008, 03:41 AM #10
Jetskier Rescues Drowning Couple.
A Jet Skier who came to the rescue of two people who nearly drowned in the rising tide off St Andrews on Saturday has remained an anonymous hero.
The watersports enthusiast rescued the unidentified man and woman after they became trapped by the incoming tide at the West Sands shortly after 4.30pm.
However, following their dramatic rescue and safe passage to the shore the jet skier took off with neither the couple nor the coastguard able to find and thank him for his quick thinking.
A spokesman for the coastguard said the couple had a lucky escape but confirmed that despite searching the bay for the mystery man their search had proved fruitless.
He said, “Our search last night never uncovered who the jet skier was so it looks like he rode his ski off never to be found.
“I know the couple are both extremely grateful for his assistance in what was an extremely scary situation.”
The drama began when emergency services received a string of reports of two people apparently becoming trapped by the incoming tide.
As the water rose, the situation became more desperate and lifeboat crews from Broughty Ferry lifeboat station and a Sea King helicopter were scrambled.
A coastguard spokeswoman said, “There were reports that the couple were almost fully submerged but the jet skier arrived and pulled them to safety.
“They were treated by ambulances at the scene and both were in shock at the ordeal but neither sustained any physical injuries and did not require any hospital treatment.”
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