Torrential rain in eastern Kentucky caused deadly flash flooding that is being called one of the worst flooding events in the state’s history.
17-year-old Chloe Adams witnessed the nightmare firsthand when she awoke to find her home surrounded by water. After panicking and trying to call for help, she realized she needed to come up with a plan to save herself and her dog that has been by her side since she was a toddler.
As the water began to enter the home, Chloe knew she needed to swim to higher ground and wait for help to arrive. However, she was worried about Sandy and tested to see if she could swim.
“I put Sandy in the water momentarily to see if she could swim. But she couldn’t, so I scooped her up and went back inside, wading through the waist deep water to try to locate something that she could float to put her on,” Chloe told CNN.
She found a plastic bin in her closet and used that along with a couch cushion to keep her loyal companion afloat. She then swam with all her might against the cold rushing water to a nearby garage rooftop.
“I knew the dangers of trying to swim in deep and moving water, but I felt I had no choice,” she said.
Once she reached the peak of the roof, that was barely above water, she took Sandy in her arms and waited five hours through several more downpours before her cousin arrived to rescue her.
Some of her family on the second floor of her uncle’s house could see her and continued to check in with her until her cousin, Larry, was able to use a kayak to rescue them.
Chloe and Sandy are inseparable and staying at her grandmother’s home. “She has always been there for me since I was a kid…she was my top priority throughout the whole situation. She will never be forgotten,” Chloe told Louisville Courier Journal.
They were some of the lucky ones that survived and the photo of her clinging to her best friend went viral. Her dad, Terry Adams, who was in Lexington during the flood posted the photo on Facebook said how proud he is of his “hero” daughter.
“My daughter is safe and whole tonight. She saved her dog by putting her in a container that would float and then swam with her to a neighboring rooftop. She waited hours until she could be rescued. She is a hero. I love you Chloe. You are simply amazing. Thank you Larry; words are not enough. We lost everything today…everything except what matters most,” he wrote.
A GoFundMe has been setup to help the Adams family.
On Monday, the death toll climbed to 37 with hundreds of people still missing. A state of emergency has been declared and shelters have been set up at three state parks to help displaced residents. Rescue teams, including those from neighboring states, continue to comb the area for survivors.
“We continue to pray for the families who have suffered unfathomable loss,” stated Governor Andy Beshear. “Hundreds will lose their homes and this is going to be another event that will take not months, but years to recover from.”