Teen, Rescuers Recount Flash Flood Nightmare

Exclusive: Teen, Rescuers Recount Daring Flash Flood RescueABC News
Raquel Dawson, 17, told "Good Morning America" she was just going to try and walk to work and had almost given up when she saw an older woman seemingly in trouble at her car.

A teenager who was the target of not one, but two dramatic rescues in the midst of violent flash floods that rushed through Oklahoma City Monday said today she was also trying to rescue someone before she was trapped.

Raquel Dawson, 17, told "Good Morning America" she was attempting to walk to work and had almost given up when she saw an older woman seemingly in trouble at her car with water rushing by.

"My first instinct was to go help her," Dawson said. "So I went in deeper. I was able to get to the lady and I was able to get her to the trees... I kept swimming to go find help."

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Oklahoma Flash Flood Survivor Raquel Dawson Recounts Rescue

Dawson was soon caught in the rushing, muddy water and fought to make her way to a nearby tree. The dramatic scene was caught on camera by a local news helicopter. In the video, she seemed to nearly go under more than once.

"[The water was] cold and the current was really strong. Logs were running into me," Dawson said.

She made it to a tree and was able to pull herself out of the water, but when several rescuers attempted to reach Dawson, their own boat capsized. The rescuers joined Dawson in the tree.

"That's a very dangerous situation," Oklahoma City Fire Department corporal Josh Pearcy, who was part of the second rescue party, told "GMA." "Those waters are very dangerous, very swift."

When the second search party when out in a zodiac -- a small, but more stable boat -- they only knew a girl was trapped and the first rescue team was trapped with her.

"It was very difficult to find her. It was densely populated with a lot of trees," Lt. Mark Edwards, who was on the zodiac, said. "Our task was to follow the [news] helicopter, get in the area and holler for them."

Eventually, the second rescue party was able to track down Dawson and the first party and after a few difficulties of their own, was able to take them to a helicopter waiting on dry land.

"I knew they would eventually [rescue me], I just didn't know how long it would take," Dawson said.

She said she felt "stupid" for leaving the woman, but didn't regret trying to help her.

No Fatalities Reported in Oklahoma City

Though thousands are cleaning up after the devastating flash flood in Oklahoma City, authorities say no fatalities were reported.

Slow-moving thunderstorms dumped nearly a foot of rain in some areas of Oklahoma City, which is more than the city usually sees in a month.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission said more than 6,000 homes and businesses lost power, The Associated Press reported.

Residents only have to look one state to the east to realize how much worse it could have been. In rural Arkansas, 20 people -- seven of them children -- were killed in a flash flood last week.

What To Do in a Flash Flood

If you're in a vehicle during a flash flood, Pearcy said the best thing to do is stay put.

"We traditionally tell people to try and stay in your car," he said. "If you have to, if the water just keeps coming up, some people get on their hoods, on the top of the car. Just stay there. Call for help. We'll come get you.

"The water is much stronger than it appears," Pearcy said.

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