A family in Hindman, Kentucky has tragically lost four young children while trying to get to safety during a flood.
The bluegrass state has been hit with the harshest rainfall and flooding it’s ever seen this past week. A river gauge along the North Fork Kentucky River in Whitesburg measured a 20 foot water level increase in only 10 hours on Thursday. A weather station recorded the water levels at 21 feet the same day — the previous record was only 14.7 feet all the way back in 1957!
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Governor Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency and President Joe Biden promptly approved the request. The State National Guard was deployed to help with rescue and recovery efforts across affected areas — it’s a very scary situation! And as time goes on, only more tragedy is uncovered…
It’s been reported the family of Amber Smith and Riley Noble are among the affected residents. They were in their Knotts County home on Thursday with their four children — Maddison, 8, Riley Jr, 6, Nevaeh, 4, and Chance, 18 months — when waters began rising into their home. The family made an effort to get to safety by climbing onto a neighbor’s roof.
Brittany Trejo, a cousin of the family of six, told The Lexington Herald the roof was only a temporary safe area — horrifically, it was “washed out” from under them:
“They got on the roof and the entire underneath washed out with them and the children.”
Amber and Riley attempted to hold onto their children for “a few hours”, but they were swept away with a “big tide”:
“They managed to get to a tree and … held the children a few hours before a big tide came and washed them all away at the same time.”
The mom and dad survived by staying in the tree and were finally rescued “eight hours” later:
“The mother and father were stranded in the tree for eight hours before anyone got there to help.”
Heartbreakingly, though, the children didn’t survive the harsh weather. As of 12:30 p.m. Friday all four bodies have been recovered from the water. Trejo created a GoFundMe campaign for the two survivors, stating “they lost everything”:
“[Smith and Noble] lost everything they had any and all donations would be greatly appreciated to help with the funeral for these precious children … They lost everything they have even no shoes on their feet any and all donations would be greatly appreciated.”
Just gut-wrenching… It’s unimaginable what those poor parents are going through right now…
And unfortunately, Gov. Beshear announced in a public statement on Thursday this would only be the beginning of horrors like this for the state’s residents and the death toll would likely “double”:
“[The number of victims] is expected to double, and is going to include some children … For so many of our residents, we are currently experiencing one of the worst, most devastating flooding events in Kentucky’s history.”
The confirmed number of victims stands at 16 the time of writing this. It’s been reported a large number of families are missing, though, after their homes were swept under the waves. So sad…
Our hearts go out to the lives affected by the floods, especially the parents who lost their precious children. May they find some comfort and the victims rest in peace.
If you would like to donate to the Smith-Noble family, you can find the link here.
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