As Texas battles the raging Hurricane Harvey, the country is coming together to offer their support and help. Disasters like this are terrible, they put lives in danger, they destroy family homes and memories, and it can take years until things are back to normal, and for those who lose their lives or lose loved ones, things never really go back to normal.
If there’s any silver lining at all, it’s the human spirit coming together, especially in such divisive times in our world. There are a few small groups on Twitter who are cheering on the Hurricane and saying people in Texas deserve this to happen to them, including a Professor from Florida who said “I don’t believe in instant Karma but this kinda feels like it for Texas,” but other than some cruel outliers, the outpouring of support has been massive. “It’s historic, its epic, but I tell you it happened in Texas and Texas can handle anything,” said the President during a speech in Texas.
There are all sorts of stories of people making their way to Texas in order to help out in any way they can. UFC Heavyweight Derrick Lewis was driving around in his huge truck helping anyone he could, for example.
There’s something about the worst things happening that really brings out the best in people, and puts all of the pettiness of our world in perspective. It really reminds you that not all heroes wear capes. For instance, a local news anchor named Brandi Smith was reporting in the field to let people know what was going on, which is already a bold move and really helpful in a time like this, when she noticed a semi truck that was stuck below and jumped into action.
As the Category 4 storm wreacked havoc in the streets of Houston, Brandi and her crew from KHOU were right in the thick of it. The cameraman working with her noticed a semi truck that was stuck below where they were filming, surrounded by the rising waters and unable to move his truck. Brandi quickly noticed that there seemed to be somebody inside of the truck, and started offering advice and guidance to the driver, all while being broadcast live on TV:
“The lights are going on this truck and the windshield wipers are going and as we get a little closer, it does look like there is someone inside… There is movement inside of this truck.
‘Sir, are you OK? Can you get to the top of your vehicle? Can you get to the top of your truck? Do not climb into the water.”
In what can only be described as perfect timing, a truck drove by moments after, towing a boat. Brandi and photographer Mario Sandoval were able to flag down the truck and to let them know that there was a man trapped in the semi-truck, unable to free himself and nowhere for him to go as the truck was completely surrounded by rising storm waters.
It’s really worth pointing out that this was a team effort. The KHOU studios were flooded out and her colleagues had evacuated the building. Brandi continued to report on the storm, the photographer with her, Mario, noticed the truck, they noticed somebody was inside, they managed to flag down rescuers who were the ones that actually made the heroic rescue. Since Brandi was the one on TV holding the microphone with the camera pointed at her, she become the face of the rescue, but everyone involved deserves a lot of credit for their parts in saving this man’s life. Without the teamwork and the perfect timing, this wouldn’t have been possible. If any one of those people didn’t step up to the moment, that truck driver could very well have lost his life inside the cab of his semi. Brandi was quick to point out that there’s credit due across the board here:
— Brandi Smith (@BrandiKHOU) August 27, 2017
It’s been reported that the live feed died while the rescue was underway, which left people wondering what happened to the semi truck driver who has been identified as a man named Robert, and Brandi Smith made sure to report that Robert was save, and what his plans were moving forward. Here’s her statement on the whole thing, along with a video showing more footage that was cut from the airwaves:
“As many of you know, KHOU 11 News was evacuated due to flooding. That meant my photographer Mario and I were the only ones left on air for … well … I don’t even know how long.
The #KHOU11 signal cut out just as Harris County Sheriff’s Office crews got their rescue boat in the water to pull a semi driver out of his flooded cab. I’ve had SO many people asking if he made it out OK and I wanted to share the video. (We kept going and rolling until the camera’s battery died, not knowing we’d been knocked off the air.) They pull him out around the 4:40 mark. THANK GOD for that crew.”
There’s also some sad news to report, the passing Sergeant Steve Perez, who lost his life after his vehicle was overcome by the high waters. We’re sending our strongest condolences to his family, friends, and other officers who are putting their lives at risk in the line of duty, not to mention the countless volunteers doing the same.