Woman trapped in flooded car rescued by dive team

September 19, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Engine 13, where the Chicago Fire Department dive team is headquartered, had a very busy night on Wednesday. The calls for help came one after another. Chicago Fire Department divers responding to numerous reports of drivers stranded beneath flooded viaducts.

"It was a large amount of rain that came down in a very short period of time, and it affected our roadways," said Dist. Chief Ron Domeker, Chicago Fire Dept.

Among the callers, was Elvira Bassett-Boyd.

"I was saying Oh my God. What is this? I kept telling, I've never seen nothing like this in my whole life," said Elvira Bassett-Boyd, rescued from flooded car.

The 72-year-old was in her car on the West Side trying to get home, but she kept being detoured by flooded intersections.

She grew anxious after learning her 84-year-old husband had fallen down at home, and the power had gone out.

"I was worried about her out there in that water. And I told her don't go in there," said James Boyd, husband.

Bassett-Boyd found what she thought was a way home, beneath a flooded viaduct at Talman and Lake. But she soon realized she'd underestimated the depth of the water.

"I tried to back up and that's when the wave hit, pushed me further in, and then the car turned catty corner," said Bassett-Boyd.

As the water rose quickly, she called 9-1-1.

Fire department divers arrived within minutes because they were already in the neighborhood answering other calls.

Bassett-Boyd says a dive team carried her from the car.

"I feel blessed, blessed, blessed," said Bassett-Boyd.

"If you're ever unsure the height of the water under those viaducts, just completely avoid it," said Dist. Chief Domeker.

If you do make the mistake of driving into floodwaters, and you get stuck, the fire department recommends you leave the vehicle only if you think it's safe to get to higher ground. If not, stay in the vehicle or get on top of it, and call 911.

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