(AUSTIN, Texas) — Dramatic 911 calls made by people engulfed in the heart of the storm that wrecked the town of Wimberley and neighboring areas in Texas over Memorial Day weekend have been released and show the horror that residents were facing.
The recordings of more than 12 hours of 911 calls were released from the evening of Saturday, May 23, into the next morning, when torrential rains led to flash flooding that caused the death of 12 people in Texas.
The tapes were released by Hays County to the Austin American-Statesman on Tuesday. ABC News’ earlier request for the recordings has not yet been answered.
The county has reportedly withheld two calls, but have not specified why or where those calls came from, according to The Statesman.
Laura McComb and her two young children were among the people who were washed away by the flooding. Her husband survived with severe injuries, and relatives have spoken out publicly about the tragedy since.
Three 911 calls were made from the home where the McCombs and their friends had been staying as part of a trip for the long weekend, including one from Laura McComb herself, according to The Statesman.
“We are on the Blanco River in Wimberley, and the water is up to the second story into the house,” McComb is heard saying on the recording, according to The Statesman. “It’s coming up to the second floor. I mean it’s so high up. And we have no exit out.”
The operator can be heard telling her to avoid the home’s attic, and noting that the residence has been listed. The operator says “I will get them out there as soon as I can.,” but she does not give an estimated arrival time for the first responders.
Government warnings at the time offer a glimpse of the huge number of emergency responses underway at the time. A National Weather Service alert issued for Hays County in the early morning hours of Sunday, May 24, noted that an estimated 350 homes were underwater and “active rescues are still ongoing across the warned area.”
“This is an en extremely dangerous and life threatening situation,” the alert also noted.
ABC News’ Austin affiliate KVUE-TV later reported that by 11 p.m. Saturday, May 23, emergency response teams were dealing with “multiple high water rescues.”
“Using helicopters and boats, first responders rescued at least 200 people, some from the roofs of their houses,” KVUE reported on May 28.
In the newly released 911 calls, an unidentified man calls from the same residence 15 minutes later and the operator asks the man if anything has changed since the last call was made from that residence and advises them to go to the roof.
“Well, I mean we’re running out of breathing room,” the man was heard saying, according to The Statesman.
A third call from the residence was made five minutes later with a bad connection, and an unidentified woman’s voice was heard through the breaks.
“Hello! Our house is down! We’re floating! Our house is off the thing, and we’re floating!” the woman said.
Calls from neighbors were recorded minutes later, saying that they saw a house floating down the river towards a bridge.
“We just saw something going down the river that was flashing a light, and it looked like a house or a car,” a woman said in a call recorded at 11:35 p.m.
Laura McComb’s body has been found, as has that of her 6-year-old son Andrew, though her 4-year-old daughter Leighton is still missing. Her husband Jonathan survived but suffered a collapsed lung, broken rib and shattered sternum.
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