First responders in New Jersey had to improvise a rescue using a construction tractor when they couldn't get to a woman trapped in her car in rising floodwaters Thursday.
Flash flooding pushed water up to the windows of an SUV in Hunterdon County when the Black River overflowed in Tewksbury. The swirling floodwaters at first pushed back first responders.
"The current was really pushing us," said Dan Campbell of Whitehouse First Aid and Rescue, one of the two rescue technicians who rescued the woman. "The water was up about waist-high."
"Time was of the essence," he said.
Armed with special training, Campbell and Bryan Richards, the deputy chief of Tewksbury First Aid and Rescue, improvised. They hopped a ride on a frontloader commandeered from a nearby construction project and rode together in the bucket, with a rope tied between them their only safety harness.
"Water rescue is something we don't get a lot, but when we do, it's something serious," said Richards.
Mine Brook Search & Rescue also aided in the operation, Richards said.
The edge of the frontloader smashed the car window, and the woman inside made it to safety.
"The lesson is, just don't drive through water," said Campbell. "'Road closed' is road closed."