Escambia County Sheriff Chip Simmons described both individuals as “lucky to be alive.”
A Florida deputy and a stranded driver narrowly escaped death after being engulfed by floodwaters on a highway, as captured in dramatic bodycam footage
Deputy William Hollingsworth had ventured out early Friday morning to rescue a man trapped in floodwaters. However, while attempting the rescue, both the deputy and the driver were swept away and submerged for approximately half a minute. They eventually resurfaced about 100 feet away. A video released on Facebook by law enforcement showcased the poignant exchange between Hollingsworth and the driver, identified as “David” in the recording.
In the footage, the deputy asked if David was okay and expressed disbelief at what had just transpired. The two men comforted each other, with David tearfully expressing his gratitude for being saved. The video also captured their subsequent explanations of the incident to the arriving first responders.
Pensacola had experienced thunderstorms that resulted in over 12 inches of rainfall overnight, leading to a flash flood emergency, according to the National Weather Service. This situation was deemed “exceedingly rare” but posed a severe threat to human life. The National Weather Service emphasized that more deaths occur due to flooding compared to any other weather-related hazard, urging people to avoid driving into floodwaters and to choose alternative routes to prevent accidents.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that a majority of flood-related drownings occur when vehicles are driven into hazardous floodwaters
The second leading cause of such deaths is individuals walking into or near floodwaters. However, these fatalities are largely preventable, as highlighted by the National Weather Service.
Sheriff Simmons praised Deputy Hollingsworth’s courageous rescue, citing it as an exemplar of the bravery exhibited by law enforcement personnel every day. Numerous Facebook users echoed this sentiment, commending the deputy for risking his life to save another. Users described him as an outstanding and exceptional officer who embodied the true meaning of “protect and serve.”