Man rescued from creek almost jumped in

Chopper 6 HD was over the Pennypack creek in the Holmesburg section of Philadelphia as a man was lifted to safety from rushing water.

July 13, 2010 8:47:53 PM PDT
As the rain moved out of our region, rescue crews were kept busy this morning when several people became stranded in rising waters.

Late this morning Philadelphia police and fire crews pulled a man stranded in the rushing waters of the Pennypack Creek in the city's Holmesburg section.

Officials received a call about a man in distress in the Pennypack Creek, near the intersection Asburner Street and Frankford Avenue.

Andrew Watts was stuck next to the foundation pillar of a rail bridge crossing the creek. Watts said he wanted to get a front row seat to Mother Nature's raging beauty but, instead, he learned of her peril.

"I didn't expect two inches to go to four and-a-half feet in 10 minutes," Watts said.

He says, at one point, he thought to himself "I can't walk across now. I'm stuck."

Despite the pouring rain, a man was walking through Pennypack Park.

Watts yelled for help and soon Rescue One responded. It's an elite, highly trained unit of the fire department that deals in high risk rescues.

Sean Cubbage was dropped from the railroad tracks above to save Watts. After securing a harness around Watts, crews were able to successfully pull him up the pillar to the top of the bridge.

Watts is grateful to those who rescued him and revealed this story could have turned to tragedy. He says he was minutes from jumping into the churning water before he was able to summon help.

"I shook every one of their hands," Watts said. "I think they all deserved it."

Multiple rescues in Lower Moreland

Chopper 6 was over the scene of multiple water rescues in Lower Moreland, Montgomery County.

Rescue teams arrived late this morning in the 2600 block of Philmont Avenue where vehicles became stranded in high water on the roadway.

Dina Prokopets was one of several drivers who watched as rising storm water surrounded their stalled cars.

Fortunately, rescuers from the Huntingdon Valley Fire Department used an inflatable boat to rescue them.

Prokopets said panic set in before help arrived.

"I felt like I was by myself in a river. My main concern was 'how much water will come?'

Of course it wasn't a river, but a flash flood from a small tributary of the Pennypack Creek.

The fire department said it made seven water rescues with its boat and walked out at least five people.

Mark Turk stopped his jeep on what he thought was high ground, but it wasn't high enough.

"It was scary," Turk said.

Locals say flooding is common here near the intersection of Philmont and Red Lion. What made it unusual was that the fast-rising water surged onto the roadway after it stopped raining.

Flooding shuts down Schuylkill Expressway

Flooding threw a huge wrench into the morning commute for anyone who took the Schuylkill Expressway near Belmont Avenue.

The eastbound lanes of the busy highway flooded and traffic came to a standstill while PennDOT workers cleared clogged drains one-by-one to get rid of the water.

The timing of the rain could not have been much worse, coming at the tail end of the mornning.

The lanes were closed for more than 2 hours.