Coast Guard river team rescues in West Virginia flooding

Recovery operations by small boat continue in West Virginia towns ravaged by flash flooding, where at least 25 people died and more rain is expected.

More than 20 counties in the southern part of the state remained under a flash flood watch Monday, as National Guard units conducted relief and cleanup efforts and the Federal Emergency Management Agency assessed damage. Floodwaters remained up in Greenbrier County, where 17 deaths were reported.

The U.S. Coast Guard’s Western River Flood Punt Team is assisting the West Virginia State Emergency Operation Center, and went into action Friday with disaster and relief assistance in response to the widespread flooding from the Elk and Kanawha rivers near hard-hit Clendenin, W.V. Residents described the entire town being underwater.
The Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Huntington flood punt team brought drinking water to 13 households, and transported 20 people from isolated areas to safety. The crews also responded to three 911 calls for medical emergencies, transporting patients local emergency medical services personnel rode provided care on board.

“We have been working closely with state, local, and industry partners to respond to multiple situations as they have unfolded in the last 36 hours,” Cmdr. Tanya Giles, commanding officer of MSU Huntington, said Saturday. “Our number one priority is public safety. We are currently on-scene helping provide transport and medical assistance in Clendenin, West Virginia, and are managing several incidents caused by the high water on the Kanawha River.”

About the author

Kirk Moore

Associate Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for over 30 years before joining WorkBoat in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. He has also been a field editor for WorkBoat’s sister publication, National Fisherman, for almost 25 years. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.

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