Central Texas men hailed as heroes after rescuing siblings from flooded creek
BELTON, Texas (KWTX) -The quick-thinking of two men working in Belton helped save the lives of a 13-year-old girl and her 21-year-old brother with autism.
The men say they were working Saturday on a house along Nolan Creek when they noticed the water rising.
They say the siblings had not been seen in a while after going tubing.
Chase Behrend and Travis Haralson say they grabbed two life jackets and a canoe and jumped in the water.
Behrend is a Texas Tech wakeboarding club member and Haralson just graduated from Texas Tech.
They say they’re both very comfortable on the water and jumped into action.
When they finally spotted the girl and her brother, they were in the middle of a flash flood.
They say they gave them the life jackets and got out of the canoe.
“Fortunately, we were able to get them on and then from there, me and him just hung off the back,” Haralson said.
“He was on the back…I was on the front and we just hung onto it kind of like a bear hug and tried to keep the kids calm and not panic while we were trying to avoid all the debris in the water.”
“This river fluctuates with depth every now and then which was probably the scariest part,” Behrend said.
“Hoping nothing swept our feet out from under us. We didn’t want to go down without a life vest as well.”
“Everyone was asking ‘why didn’t you stop and pull off to the side?,’” Behrend said.
“Well if you stop in the middle of fast-moving water, you’re the obstacle at the time so that makes all the water flow around you which is loud and scared one of the kids.”
Behrend said one of the victims could not swim and they were trying to make sure they had a perfect place to stop.
They eventually found a good place and flagged down a truck driver after floating for two and a half miles.
The driver told them he spotted Haralson’s Texas Tech hat and stopped for them because he was also a Red Raiders fan.
The man took them to the area where law enforcement was staged near the creek.
“Thank God they were rescued,” Bell County Game Warden Brandt Bernstein said.
He said two game warden units responded to assist the Bell County Sheriff’s Office after the victims’ family called 911.
By the time they got there, the siblings were safe thanks to Behrend and Haralson.
Even though the story has a happy ending, the young men have advice for anyone near the water this summer.
“Those flash flood warnings that are always on the weather…take them seriously,” Haralson said.
“No matter how silly it looks,” Behrend said. “Wear a life vest.”
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