1-year-old baby among five found dead after floodwaters overtake N.C. campground

1-year-old baby among five found dead after floodwaters overtake N.C. campground
A 1-year-old baby is among five people who were found dead after floodwaters overtook a campground in Alexander County Thursday. (Source: Caroline Hicks)

ALEXANDER COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - A 1-year-old baby boy is among five people who were found dead after floodwaters overtook a campground in Alexander County Thursday.

While five people were killed, 31 other campers were rescued at the Hiddenite Family Camp Ground off of Princess Lane near the South Yadkin River.

Crews were orginally searching for five missing people and the 1-year-old was the last person considered missing before officials recovered the boy’s body Friday afternoon.

N.C. CAMPGROUND UPDATE

WATCH LIVE: Alexander County officials are providing an update after flooding overtook a campground Thursday, leaving five people dead, including a 1-year-old baby. https://bit.ly/2IxVZDa

Posted by WBTV News on Friday, November 13, 2020

Around 4 p.m. Friday, officials say the search and rescue team at Hiddenite Family Campground located the body of the 1-year-old boy for whom they have been searching.

Sheriff Chris Bowman says the 1-year-old was found 800-1,000 feet away from where the child was swept away.

As Bowman spoke to reporters he was overcome with emotion and had a tough time talking about what happened.

“I keep thinking about my grandson,” Bowman said. “I feel for the family.”

The victims' names were released Monday after emergency services personnel contacted the families.

On Friday, county emergency services had four (4) assessment teams on the ground across the county to determine the extent of the damage.

The doors to the campers previously could not be opened due to high water as emergency personnel continued the search.

Charlotte Fire officials said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management received a request for the Charlotte Fire Department to deploy to Alexander County and assist Hiddenite with flood conditions.

At least of 36 members of CFD Task Force 3 deployed with swift water and urban search and rescue assets.

Melissa Frye was on the scene Thursday morning after learning that three of her family members were evacuated, but her ex-sister-in-law was missing.

“She got washed down the river," Frye told WBTV. "They haven’t found her yet.”

She said she was trying to get answers regarding the search process.

“I’m feeling lost, I’m sitting here praying to God that she’s okay and that she’s caught onto something and that they’ll find her," she said.

Alexander County Sheriff Chris Bowman said he is confident in his department and the crews from surrounding areas that came to help.

“Alexander County, when tragedy happens, the people come together," Sheriff Bowman said. "And they’ve done this in this situation too.”

33 people rescued from floodwaters at Hiddenite Family Campground

Alexander County experienced major flooding during the recent storm with approximately 7-10 inches of rain overnight. Approximately 50 roads across the county have been compromised, with four bridges washed out.

Around noon Thursday, at least five boat crews were still on the water searching for the missing people. Officials said the water was so high, most doors to the campers being searched could not be opened.

The Conover Fire Department responded to the area for the water rescues around 6 a.m. Thursday. Crews took boats to the campers and residents and brought them to higher ground.

In addition, a car crash happened on Hopewell Church Road in the Vashti community due to a bridge outage and high water. The person in the car was pronounced dead at the scene. Their identity has not been released.

Alexander County Emergency Services opened a storm shelter at East Taylorsville Baptist Church at approximately 7 a.m. for those affected by the flooding. There are currently 13 people in the shelter.

Some patients were being treated by EMS, but their conditions were not provided.

BREAKING: A water rescue is underway in Alexander County where crews are searching for people. At least 33 people have already been rescued at the Hiddenite Family Campground: https://bit.ly/2Iy4Bts

Posted by WBTV News on Thursday, November 12, 2020

Conover officials also responded to a water rescue along County Home Road in Wittenburg, where a vehicle reportedly went over a bridge.

Details surrounding those rescues were not provided.

Burke County also saw rising water and at least one mudslide as the heavy rainfall rolled through. Officials say more than 10 inches fell across the county in total. Fifty roads were “compromised” by the flooding, officials said, with four bridges completely washed away.

Alexander County Schools opted to have students learn virtually Thursday in response to the flooding concerns and dangerous road conditions.

In Burke County, a mudslide closed down Mineral Springs Mountain Road.

Water was rising and moving quickly along Howard’s Creek in Burke County.

Citizens are advised to use extreme caution if they must drive, and to never drive through standing water.

If you require assistance, call 828-632-9336 for non-emergencies or 911 for emergencies.

If you have flood damage, visit www.alexandercountync.gov/storm to submit photos and information.

Upload photos of weather in your area HERE.

  • Donation sites: East Taylorsville Baptist Church, Alexander County Health Department and Social Services Department
  • Clothing donations: Salvation Army or Christian Crisis Center
  • Cash donations: ContinueToGive.com/ETBC

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