Death toll rises to 25 in Kentucky flooding, 'likely to increase,' governor says

Beshear said the state can confirm four children are dead in the flooding.

July 30, 2022, 11:06 AM

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said 25 people have been confirmed dead across 5 counties in the state's devastating flooding, as of 11 a.m. on Saturday, saying the number is "likely to increase."

"That number will continue to grow and to be refined. Remember we don't have cell service in some areas so please be patient as we get new information or if it changes," Beshear said during a press conference Saturday.

PHOTO: A rescue team member evacuates residents from their homes in a boat through flooded streets, in Breathitt County, Ky., on July 28, 2022.
A rescue team member evacuates residents from their homes in a boat through flooded streets, in Breathitt County, Ky., on July 28, 2022.
Wolfe County Search & Rescue Team via Reuters
PHOTO: A submerged house is seen in flood affected area, in Breathitt County, Ky., July 28, 2022.
A submerged house is seen in flood affected area, in Breathitt County, Ky., July 28, 2022.
Wolfe County Search & Rescue Team via Reuters

Beshear said the state can now confirm only four children are dead in the flooding, after he had said on Friday that he learned six children's' bodies had been recovered.

"If there is one piece of good news, we now believe there are only four children in this group, and not six. The additional two children that were reported to us have turned out to be adults. Now, those are still two people who we have lost and we grieve for them," Beshear said.

There are more than 18,000 power outages being reported. Power should be restored in Johnson, Magoffin and Martin counties by Saturday night, 95% restored in Floyd and Pike Counties by Sunday night and restored into next week for Breathitt, Knott, Letcher and Perry counties, Beshear said.

PHOTO: Members of a rescue team assist a family out of a boat in Quicksand, Ky., on July 28, 2022. Storms have dropped as much as 12 inches of rain in some parts of Eastern Kentucky, causing devastating floods in some areas.
Members of a rescue team assist a family out of a boat in Quicksand, Ky., on July 28, 2022. Storms have dropped as much as 12 inches of rain in some parts of Eastern Kentucky, causing devastating floods in some areas.
Michael Swensen/Getty Images
PHOTO: A member of the Jackson Fire Dept. reacts outside his vehicle downtown on July 28, 2022 in Jackson, Ky. Storms that dropped as much as 12 inches of rain in some parts of Eastern Kentucky have caused devastating floods in some areas.
A member of the Jackson Fire Dept. reacts outside his vehicle downtown on July 28, 2022 in Jackson, Ky. Storms that dropped as much as 12 inches of rain in some parts of Eastern Kentucky have caused devastating floods in some areas.
Michael Swensen/Getty Images

Beshear said this is still an emergency situation, and the state is still in search and rescue mode, saying the information is going to change as officials learn more.

"We don't lose this many people in flooding. This is a real tough one," Beshear said.

"We continue to pray for the families that have suffered an unfathomable loss. Some having lost almost everyone in their household," Beshear said.

As of Saturday morning, the Kentucky National guard had rescued 404 people over the last couple of days via aircraft. The Tennessee National Guard, which has been helping with the recovery, has rescued 224 additional people and the West Virginia National Guard has rescued 36 people, according to Beshear.

PHOTO: Bonnie Combs hugs her 10-year-old granddaughter Adelynn Bowling, as she watches  her property become covered by the North Fork of the Kentucky River in Jackson, Ky., July 28, 2022.
Bonnie Combs hugs her 10-year-old granddaughter Adelynn Bowling, as she watches her property become covered by the North Fork of the Kentucky River in Jackson, Ky., July 28, 2022.
Timothy D. Easley/AP
PHOTO: A Knott County 911 emergency vehicle was washed into the Right Fork Troublesome Creek in Hindman, Ky., July 29, 2022.
A Knott County 911 emergency vehicle was washed into the Right Fork Troublesome Creek in Hindman, Ky., July 29, 2022.
Matt Stone/Courier Journal via USA Today Network

The state's national guard has rescued 19 people and two dogs by boat, Beshear said. Kentucky police has assisted or are assisting in 624 water rescues and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife has assisted in 125 water rescues, according to Beshear.

"It is a really hard thing right now with how wide the destruction is in areas that are impacted to get any firm number on people that are missing," Beshear said, asking people to report missing people.

Beshear said the river water is down 10 feet, and officials are no longer concerned that the Pambula Lake Dam, where they thought there may be a breach.

On Friday, Beshear said "a lot of people" remain unaccounted for.

"We're going to do our best to find them all," Beshear said, without providing a number of the missing.

Beshear toured the devastation by helicopter on Friday and called it the worst flooding he's seen since being in office.

The governor anticipated that authorities may be updating the number of deceased for "several weeks."

PHOTO: Homes are flooded by Lost Creek, Ky., July 28, 2022, after heavy rains caused flash flooding and mudslides in parts of central Appalachia.
Homes are flooded by Lost Creek, Ky., July 28, 2022, after heavy rains caused flash flooding and mudslides in parts of central Appalachia.
Ryan C. Hermens/Lexington Herald-Leader via AP
PHOTO: JHomes along Gross Loop off of KY-15 are flooded with water from the North Fork of the Kentucky River in Jackson, Ky., July 28, 2022.
Homes along Gross Loop off of KY-15 are flooded with water from the North Fork of the Kentucky River in Jackson, Ky., July 28, 2022.
The Washington Post via Getty Images

On Thursday, Beshear called it "one of the worst, most devastating" floods in the state's history and said he anticipates this will be one of the deadliest floods in Kentucky in "a very long time."

The flooding hit Kentucky late Wednesday, pounding the state with 2 to 5 inches of rain.

PHOTO: Water surrounds homes and structures after flash flooding near Quicksand, Ky., July 28, 2022.
Water surrounds homes and structures after flash flooding near Quicksand, Ky., July 28, 2022.
Ryan C. Hermens/Lexington Herald-Leader via AP
PHOTO: Flooding is shown in downtown Jackson, Ky., on July 29, 2022.
Flooding is shown in downtown Jackson, Ky., on July 29, 2022.
Michael Swensen/Getty Images
PHOTO: A group of stranded people are rescued from the flood waters of the North Fork of the Kentucky River in Jackson, Ky., on July 28, 2022.
A group of stranded people are rescued from the flood waters of the North Fork of the Kentucky River in Jackson, Ky., on July 28, 2022.
Leandro Lozada/AFP via Getty Images

Kentucky is combating washed out roads, destroyed homes and flooded schools, according to the governor.

Thousands of residents are expected to lose their homes, he said.

PHOTO: Reggie Ritchie comforts wife Della as they pause while clearing out their destroyed manufactured home destroyed by the flooding from Troublesome Creek behind them in Fisty, Ky., on July 29, 2022.
Reggie Ritchie comforts wife Della as they pause while clearing out their destroyed manufactured home destroyed by the flooding from Troublesome Creek behind them in Fisty, Ky., on July 29, 2022.
Matt Stone/USA Today Network via Reuters
PHOTO: A man searches the remains of a trailer park that was wiped out by flood waters of Troublesome Creek in Dwarf, Ky., on July 29, 2022.
A man searches the remains of a trailer park that was wiped out by flood waters of Troublesome Creek in Dwarf, Ky., on July 29, 2022.
Matt Stone/Courier Journal via USA Today Network

More than 294 people have been rescued from floodwaters in eastern Kentucky so far and that number will likely rise, Beshear said.

The rain may return to Kentucky late Sunday through early next week, but significant rainfall isn't expected.

"While rain totals are not expected to be as high, flooding still remains a concern due to saturated grounds," the governor tweeted.

PHOTO: April Stivers, 38, of Lost Creek, Kentucky, takes a moment to herself in the Hazard Community & Technical College, where survivors of the major flooding in Eastern Kentucky are being taken for shelter on July 28, 2022 in Breathitt County, Ky.
April Stivers, 38, of Lost Creek, Kentucky, takes a moment to herself in the Hazard Community & Technical College, where survivors of the major flooding in Eastern Kentucky are being taken for shelter on July 28, 2022 in Breathitt County, Ky. April was airlifted from her roof after her partner Chad hammered a hole in the roof to climb out.
Michael Swensen/Getty Images
PHOTO: A car is submerged in flood waters along Right Beaver Creek following a day of heavy rain, on July 28, 2022, in Garrett, Ky.
A car is submerged in flood waters along Right Beaver Creek following a day of heavy rain, on July 28, 2022, in Garrett, Ky.
By Pat McDonogh/USA Today Network

President Joe Biden approved a disaster declaration and is receiving updates "very regularly," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Friday.

"Our hearts break for the families of those who have lost their lives or are missing, and to all those who have been impacted," she said.

A relief fund set up by the state has garnered $684,688.09 in donations, Beshear said. The first expenditure out of the fund will be paying for funerals, he said.

"We care about you and we can't imagine the grief you are going through right now," Beshear said, addressing those impacted.

ABC News' Alexandra Faul, Kenton Gewecke, Josh Hoyos, Justin Ryan Gomez, Matt Foster and Morgan Winsor contributed to this report.

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