Pender County water rescues continue, Black River closer to cresting

Pender County water rescues continue, Black River closer to cresting

PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Water rescues continued Tuesday in Pender County as The Black River threatens even more flooding for the area.

According to emergency officials, over 1,300 people have been rescued by air and boat.

The Black River is threatening the small communities of Atkinson and Currie. Several people were rescued from the water there and taken to Malpass Corner Elementary for shelter.

"Right now we are getting rescue items brought in and doing water rescues every day," said Ken Smith, mayor of Atkinson. "We feel like we are the forgotten city, people are stranded and without power, we are doing everything we can to reach the needs of every person possible."

The Atkinson Volunteer Fire Department responded to Point Caswell Road after reports of more than a dozen people being stranded due to the Black River overflowing its banks.

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Roads leading to those that were stranded are impassable, but the fire department was able to bring seven people to safety. Many of those rescued were children, and one adult needed immediate care.

One of those rescued was Emily Simpson.

"My home has about three feet of water in it right now. I live right on the river," Simpson said with tears. "My family came to get me but then their truck got stuck."

Keith Wells lives on Point Caswell Road and said he knows the water is higher than Matthew but plans to stay put.

"I don't want to leave my property and stuff, I want to stay here with it," Wells explained. "I have two boats here at the house. I figure when they float off the trailer, I'll get on them and leave. It is so eerie, though, seeing helicopters flying around rescuing people and stuff."

A dozen others like Wells refused to leave even though the fire department said they estimate the river is rising at a rate of about two to three inches per hour.

The Black River is currently at 28 feet and expected to crest on Thursday.

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