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BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. – Severe flooding has devastated parts of South Carolina and claimed 17 lives across the state.
Lawmakers says the flooding caused nearly $1 billion in damage and forced crews to close more than 250 roads and 10 bridges.
Fortunately, the damage is dwarfed by many residents’ stories of survival.
On Sunday, Clara Gantt saw the heavy rain coming down, but knew that wouldn’t deter her from going to church.
She had no idea that as she would be driving straight into floodwaters.
“I knew there was water out there, but I didn’t know that it was going to stall me, and I did,” Gantt told WIS-TV.
She immediately called 911, but no one answered. She was finally able to get in touch with her family.
“By the time they got there, my car shifted and went backwards down into a field,” Gantt said. “I said, ‘Dear Lord, are you taking me home right now?’ Immediately, I flipped over to my back and it was like he said, ‘No, not right now.”
Gantt’s grandson, Travis Catchings, came to her aid.
“I got [the door] open and got her out of the car,” Catchings said. “At that point, we had to just sit there and wait.”
“There was a little church right there, where my car stopped was right beside a huge red cross,” Gantt said. “I was literally, after I got out of the car, holding onto the cross. I was clinging to the cross.”
Gantt and her grandson held on to the church for five hours until help arrived.
A rescue swimmer brought the pair to safety. Gantt suffered a broken ankle and a little hypothermia, but she is expected to be okay.