DALLAS — Crews in swift-water boats on Tuesday patrolled a 35-mile stretch of a West Texas river for four people who went missing after a recreational vehicle park was overrun by raging floodwaters a day earlier.
“There’s a lot of brush, there’s a lot of tree line, so they’re slowing down and hopefully if there’s anybody that’s hung up on a bank or in a tree, they can at least hear them,” said Texas Game Warden Rachel Kellner, who added that a drone was also expected to help in the search.
Rains that brought more than 12 inches of rain to the area beginning Sunday night caused the South Llano River to rise in Junction, about 140 miles west of Austin. The floodwaters early Monday swept away people staying at the South Llano River RV Park, prompting dramatic air and water rescues.
Emergency crews looked for the four missing people on Monday, but abandoned the search as darkness fell and more rain set in. The search resumed Tuesday morning with rainy skies clearing by early afternoon.
Kellner said Tuesday that the four missing are one woman and three men. Officials on Monday said all four missing were men. Kellner said there were no other people known to be missing.
Officials on Monday were initially able to rescue dozens from the RV park by throwing them life jackets or ropes. But then the water got too high and they needed helicopters and boats for the rescues. Fifteen people were rescued by boat and four by helicopter, including, Kellner said, two people and a dog plucked from a tree. One woman, she said, floated about 18 miles down the river on debris before being rescued. She only sustained cuts and bruises.
Kellner said boats looking for the missing people are patrolling from the location of the RV park on the South Llano River in Junction downstream to the Mason County line. The South Llano River connects with the North Llano River in Junction, becoming the Llano River.
Jake Gosschalk, a spokesman for the Texas A&M Forest Service, said that as search efforts continue, about 50 people with the Texas Military Department — which includes national guardsmen — are on their way to walk the area by the river.
National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Decker says the next chance of rain in the area will be on Friday.
Associated Press reporters Ken Miller in Oklahoma City and Ryan Tarinelli in Dallas contributed to this report.