FRANKFORT, Ky. – A 14-year veteran Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources conservation officer charged into rushing Knott County flash flood waters this morning and rescued the director of the Hazard-Perry County Senior Citizens Center who had been swept away.
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Sergeant Greg Watts made his way across about 25 feet of raging water before reaching Kim Boggs who was clinging to a parking lot trash can anchored to a utility pole.
“The trash can and the utility pole are gone now,” said Watts. “A huge sudden flow of water just washed her away. She was under the water and then managed to grab onto the trash can. I just jumped in and grabbed her.”
The events played out shortly after 11 a.m , July 18. Eighty-five senior citizens from the Hazard Center were participating in a fishing outing at Four Star Village Pay Lake and Catering near Redfox, Ky.
“It started raining about 10:30, sometimes hard, but they were using their shelters and catching fish,” said Watts. “We had gone back to the parking lot to get the vans.”
He and another member of the center had just walked across the parking lot on the pond’s upper end when the water came.
“I’ve never seen it come up like that,” Watts said. “It came on us like the drop of a hat.”
That’s when he saw Boggs get swept away. “The water just went over top of her,” Watts said. “She grabbed the can and that’s when I had to go in.”
Conservation Officer Steve Combs saw the events unfold and quickly maneuvered his truck through the water, temporarily relieving Watts and Boggs from the current. The two officers loaded Boggs into the bed of the truck.
“The water was coming over the hood,” said Watts. “She couldn’t stand up when we got to the truck so we put her up into the bed. I held onto her and Steve drove us out,” said Watts.
Boggs did not need medical attention afterwards.
Conservation Officer William Amburgey also helped in getting the rest of the senior citizens to safety. The flood waters left roads washed and debris cluttered. After they cleared the roads, reinforcement conservation officers and Kentucky State Police joined to get the seniors back to Hazard.