Man recounts being rescued from tree after trapped in floodwaters in Upper Chichester: VIDEO

The man had been swept away by rising water around 11 p.m. Tuesday in the area of Riviera Road and Flora Lane.

Thursday, January 11, 2024
Man recounts being rescued from tree after trapped in floodwaters
Video shows crews rescuing a man who was trapped in a tree after being swept away in fast-moving floodwaters in Upper Chichester, Delaware County.

UPPER CHICHESTER, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- First responders were called to help rescue a man during Tuesday night's storm in Upper Chichester, Delaware County.

Twenty-year-old Joel Bryant climbed a tree and held on for life after he was swept away around 11 p.m. by the rising water in the area of Riviera Road and Flora Lane, which is not far from Marcus Hook Creek.

"I couldn't believe it, it was unbelievable," said the victim's brother James Bryant on Wednesday during a ceremony for the first responders involved in the rescue.

Emergency crews were able to use Joel's phone to find his location. But time was of the essence.

"He also told us he only had 2% left on his battery of his phone. Delaware County 911 operators processed the call using new technology Next Gen 911," said Tim Boyce with Delaware County Emergency Management.

The newly formed Delaware County water rescue task force responded and rescued Joel within minutes.

"Three minutes these first responders were there because they were ready," said Boyce.

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"We transferred a life jacket over to the victim for safety. Crews from Aston, Chester Heights used their surfboard. We tied a rope to that," added Captain Matthew McCormick with the Aston Fire Department.

Joel was taken to the hospital with minor injuries and his brother says he went back to work the next day.

"It had no effect on him. He is living as he always has, he's going to be fine," James said.

The new water rescue task force had only responded to one other rescue in the six months since they have been active.

The victim's brother says Joel originally left the home because he thought he saw a fire.

Delaware County wasn't the only area hit hard by the storm. Heavy rain filled the Brandywine Creek in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. It reached 12.84 feet - just shy of the 'major' flood stage classification of 13 feet - before it began to recede.

And in Upper Milford Township in Lehigh County, video shows crews safely rescuing a person in a car on Indian Creek Road.

Rainstorm brings flooding, strong winds and power outages to region