Crews worked for hours trying to find the victim's missing car in Douglass Township after being swept downstream.
A pregnant woman and her 8-year-old son met a tragic end on Thursday afternoon when their car was washed away in the rising water of Manatawny Creek near the village of Pine Grove, drowning in the flash river.
Douglass Township Police Chief John Dzurek confirmed late on Thursday night that the mother and son, whose identities were not revealed, were found inside their Mazda 3 along the church on the north side of Manatawny Creek about half a mile away from their latest known position in the 1
Dzurek, who has been with the department for more than a decade, said Thursday's flood of beaches and roads was the worst local natural disaster he had ever seen at work, especially since it led to several deaths. He said he received an unconfirmed report from the city champion's roadmap that more than 6 inches of rain had fallen locally at 4 pm
"Over the next fifteen years I have been with the department, I" I have never seen rainfall it quickly and cause it much destruction in this area as it did today, "Dzurek said.
Crews were sent shortly before 4:30 pm for the report of several people trapped inside a vehicle on Pine Forge Road near the railroad junction at the Colebrookdale Railroad.
who was eight months pregnant, passed on to a 9-1-1 consignor that she and her son were stuck in the car with rushing water in. The victim's phone was called to determine their exact location near a place where Ironstone Creek flows into Manatawny Creek.
Dzurek, who was one of two officials at the time of Douglass Township, made his way to Pine Forge Road to try to find the stranded car. the flood in the area was so poor that he never came close enough to see his vehicle and stopped at the intersection of Summit Lane.
"When I ran through the water myself, I could feel my SUV sitting pretty high, wanting to drive away," Dzurek said. "I could manage a small dirt track, look down and I couldn't see anything, spun around and tore me through until I became part of it."
Dzurek said he forwarded a message that fire services and a water rescue were necessary to access the stricken vehicle, but the many flooded roads made it difficult for emergency personnel to access the scene.
A firefighter who had come in contact with the victim could stay on the phone with her for several minutes before losing contact, Dzurek said, with many attempts to reconnect with her.
Dzurek said that the last thing she told the firefighters was that the nose of the car began to go down into the water.
Diving teams and rescue boats from as far away as Schuylkill County and Phoenixville in Montgomery County were sent to the scene all afternoon on Thursday. A staging area was established at the bridge that passed Manatawny Creek on Manatawny Drive.
Reading search and rescue brought their drone team out to perform a flight search in the creek and the Pennsylvania State Police flies a helicopter in the area in an attempt to find the missing car.
The family members of the two victims began arriving at the search site around 8 o'clock and gathered on the bridge and looked at the flood waters that were still plummeting.
Dzurek said family members were trying to figure out why the victim was driving on Pine Forge Road at the time of the flood as it was a road run she didn't usually go on.
"Almost every roadway in this township was under water, so people got so far and turned around," Dzurek said. "Almost every road in this township has either trees down, has destruction or was under water."
At 9:45 am there was a search party in a boat where the missing car was about a quarter mile north of the staging area on the bridge. Crews could see through a sunroof in the car and find the two victims inside.
More family members of the victims began to come to the scene, embraced each other and cried on the bridge.
Dzurek said he hopes not to see another event as Thursday again, called the test "stressful" but praised the first respondents.
"Everyone kept everyone on top of what happened and what the next step would be," Dzurek said. "I use the word" stressful "because Officer (Micah) Long and I were the only two to begin with, and the township collapsed. Cars in water here, cars in water there, trees down here, people stuck between two areas of flood and cannot go anywhere. "
Large search and rescue operations that took place on Thursday evening at Manatawny Creek after a car were reportedly swept in flood waters earlier in the afternoon. pic.twitter.com/rMg1SlypFp
Michael Yoder (@YoderReports) July 12, 2019
Short video of the place where a woman and her son were washed away less than 4 hours before at Pine Forge Rd in Douglass Township like Manatawny and Ironstone creeks flooded with more than 6 inches of rain that fell in no time. @ReadingEagle pic.twitter.com/zH60U4AhUq
– Michael Yoder (@YoderReports) July 12, 2019
At the end of Thursday evening, crews from all over Berks and Montgomery counties gathered at Manatawny Drive Bridge passing Manatawny Creek in Douglass Township to assist in the search for the missing woman and her son. They were found in their car just upstream from this place. pic.twitter.com/mTof5qDBB1
– Michael Yoder (@YoderReports) July 12, 2019