Less than two years after a flash flood devastated their city, the residents of Ellicott City in Maryland are facing yet another natural disaster that appears to be causing even more damage than its predecessor. The “once in 1,000-year” flash flooding has torn down the city’s historic Main Street, turning it into a river and sweeping away cars like they are nothing.
While rescue officials have reportedly saved at least 300 people trapped inside upturned vehicles and buildings, the authorities are currently searching for a member of the National Guard who was swept away in the monstrous floodwaters while trying to help a woman.
Air Force veteran and member of the Army National Guard, Eddison Alexander Hermond, was reportedly attending a birthday party at a restaurant on the Memorial Day’s eve when he saw a woman with a cat carrier in need of help.
Without thinking about his own safety, the 39-year-old left the eatery to help the woman rescue her cat but got swept away in the rapidly rising waters.
“We're all yelling at him to stop, come back,” Hermond’s friend Joseph Lopez told CNN. “The current runs him into the river and he floats away.”
Lopez was at the restaurant at the time.
“It happened so fast,” he told ABC News. “The main street became a river in less than 20 minutes. Eddison is a great swimmer so I’m hopeful that he will be OK.”
One of Hermond’s other friends, 31-year-old Navy veteran Bonnie Hoppa, took to Facebook to post a now-viral message about the missing soldier.
“He was in the water in the first place because he saw a woman who needed help,” Hoppa told BuzzFeed News. “He’s got a big heart and everybody loves him and is very worried.”
Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman told reporters finding the missing National Guardsman was a priority.
“We’re certainly making every effort to locate that individual,” he continued. “My heart is broken, thinking about what the people are going through here — and the people’s lives who were devastated two years ago, and they rebuilt and now they’re faced with the same daunting task again. We will be there for them, as we were in 2016. But I have no words to say to you and to them right now. I’m devastated. I’m heartbroken, and I know they are as well.”
It is important to mention Ellicott City has received torrential rainfall in the past days, causing sever damage to the city’s infrastructure.
“They say this is a once every 1,000-year flood and we’ve had two of them in two years,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said during a press conference.
Watch the destruction caused by the flash floods in the video below.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Todd Marks via Reuters