DALLAS — Emergency crews were searching for four men Monday whose recreational vehicle was among those swept away from an RV park by floodwaters in a small West Texas city, prompting dramatic rescues by helicopters and boats.
Heavy rains started falling Sunday night, causing the South Llano River to rise in Junction, about 140 miles (225 kilometers) west of Austin. Kimble County Sheriff Hilario Cantu said no fatalities have been confirmed but that "all the RVs, everything, got swept away."
Texas Game Warden Rachel Kellner said the four missing men worked together and were swept away before daybreak by the South Llano River. The city is located near where North Llano River and South Llano River converge to form the Llano River.
Authorities said 19 people were rescued — 15 by boat and four by helicopter. Kellner said two of the people rescued by air were in a tree with a family dog.
Kellner said all those rescued have been checked out by medical emergency personnel, but it's unclear if any required hospitalization.
Authorities said 40 people had been evacuated from the South Llano RV Park.
Cantu said state and local agencies were helping with the rescues. Authorities said the city of about 2,500 people had been without electricity earlier, but it's been restored.
National Weather Service meteorologist Aaron Woodward said radar estimates show that up to 12 inches of rain has fallen in the area since Sunday evening.
"The bulk of the heavy rain fell over a several-hour period and it just lined up perfectly that all that fell into that river canyon and it built up and pushed a giant wall downstream," Woodward said. "That's what caused the extreme flash flooding. When you get that quick of a wall to rush down and you get that rapid of a rise in river depths, flash flooding is imminent."
The river has gone down, but it is expected to rise again later. More rain is expected in the area late Monday night and into the overnight hours.
Cantu said that while they know the four are missing from the RV park, there's a possibility that other campers they don't know about are missing. Cantu said the RV park is adjacent to a city park where people can stay overnight but it's not regulated so he doesn't know how many people might have been there.
"The problem with the RV park, as far as getting accounting of people and getting information, the main office was also swept away," he said. "So whatever records they had there are not accessible."