A woman whose life was saved from the rising flood waters caused by Tropical Storm Michael was reunited with her rescuers on Monday.
The reunion took place during the regular meeting of the McDowell County Commission.
On Oct. 11 at 7:29 a.m., McDowell County 911 Communications received a mutual aid request from Buncombe County for a woman in need of rescue from swift water along Crooked Creek Road.
Emergency personnel from the Crooked Creek Fire Department, McDowell EMS, McDowell Emergency Management and McDowell Rescue were dispatched to the area. While responding, the crews encountered multiple hazards including flooded roadways, downed trees and mud slides. Numerous calls for service were being fielded by the 911 Center due to Tropical Storm Michael. Upon arrival, crews found a small vehicle that had been swept off the road by raging water and a woman pinned by a tree against a vehicle, which had come to rest in the water, according to Emergency Management Director William Kehler.
Emergency personnel began the dangerous task of entering the swift water to rescue the woman trapped in the river. The crews were able to pull Joy Inabinette from the raging water and transport her to an ambulance.
“This was a critical life-safety mission that was safely executed by true professionals who risked their own life to save another,” said Kehler to the commissioners.
Furthermore, Marion has recorded 88.47 inches of rain this year and 2018 is the wettest year on record. The average rainfall for Marion is 46 inches per year.
As a result, 2018 has been a challenging year for emergency personnel, support agencies and citizens across McDowell. So far in 2018, the National Weather Service has issued a total of 25 flood advisories, 10 flood warnings, 18 flash flood warnings and one flash flood emergency for area rivers, creeks and streams, according to Kehler.
“McDowell County is blessed to have such dedicated men and women in each department who at a moment’s notice will risk their own life to save another,” he said to the commissioners. “We have seen this on display multiple times this year and it is my great honor to submit these names for recognition at the November meeting of the McDowell County Board of Commissioners.”
Kehler then recognized the personnel who took part in this call and rescue:
• Randy Vess, Frank Seaman and Tyler Young with Crooked Creek Fire Department
• Chad Robinson with McDowell Emergency Management
• Ann Marie Reel and Jessica Pittman with McDowell 911
• Amberlie Buff, Craig Walker, Andrew Pressley, Sam Robinson, Adrienne Jones, Steve Hancock, Angie Wright, Johnsie Parker with EOC/Coordination Center
• Ricky Wright with McDowell Rescue
Joy Inabinette and her husband David were there Monday to thank these personnel for coming to the rescue.
“I want to thank everybody,” she said. “I know its people’s jobs but it takes a lot of character and bravery.”
She remembers seeing them in their yellow jackets and the feel of their hands as they pulled her from the flood waters. Inabinette said they were there in her time of crisis.
Kehler added that 18 people over the course of three storms this year have been saved from swift waters.