Disaster Strikes Rescuers Shortly After Live Broadcast
Of seven men that set out to rescue stranded Texans in Houston on Monday, Aug. 28, two have been declared dead and two are still missing.
The others, two journalists from the Daily Mail and another, are recovering in the hospital after their third trip onto turbulent floodwaters met with disaster.
Yahir’s brother, Jose Vizueth, 30, was rescued by police and taken to a local hospital, as were Daily Mail photographer Ruaridh Connellan and reporter Alan Butterfield.
Still missing are Benjamin Vizueth, 31, another brother, and family friend and boat owner Gustavo Rodriguez-Hernandez, 40.
Tragedy struck the men shortly after Benjamin posted a Facebook live video of their efforts.
Benjamin’s wife, Perla Jaquez, is trying to get friends to come help look for Benjamin and apply pressure to local authorities to prioritize the search for Rodriguez-Hernandez and her husband.
“I need to think he is still alive,” she wrote on Facebook. “My sons and I need him with us.”
“We know that [there] is still a lot for [sic] things to do, but we can’t just leave without some type of closure, please call the Sheriff, HPD, the media to continue so we can find them “, she wrote.
The three brothers set out Monday morning in Gustavo’s small boat and rescued two families in many trips.
They encountered the journalists on their third trip and brought them along as they went to rescue an elderly woman who was trapped.
But as they made their way to where the woman was waiting, strong currents overpowered the boat and brought it toward downed power lines.
The men jumped from the boat to avoid the sparking wires, recounts journalist Alan Butterfield in a Daily Mail post.
“I heard the boat crash into the lines, the noise was just awful. The boat was crackling and smoking,” wrote Butterfield.
Jose and the two journalists managed to grab a tree and hold on amid the fierce currents.
“We thought we were going to be rescued as we could see about ten helicopters flying overhead. One stopped around 100 yards away and was dropping ropes. We were yelling ‘Help’ and Jose was waving and wearing a yellow jacket at the top of the tree. But the rain was torrential and the winds must have been around 50mph, they couldn’t see us,” he wrote.
Butterfield described their ordeal, clinging to a tree all night, suffering frostbite as the cold set in, taking turns yelling for help in the darkness.
Friends and family of the volunteer rescuers are continuing to search and calling for help. They have set up several GoFundMe projects to help the families.