A woman was swept away from her vehicle after heavy rain filled roads with water Sunday night in Fulton Township, according to the Robert Fulton Fire Company.
Firefighters arrived to find the woman huddled next to a tree in waist-deep water after strong currents had swept her vehicle into a nearby cornfield in the 100 block of Soapstone Hill Road, north of the Maryland border, around 11:30 p.m., said Fire Chief Phil Smith.
The woman was driving toward a nearby bridge over the Little Conewingo Creek when she suddenly began hydroplaning in high, fast-moving water, Smith said. The woman attempted to escape the vehicle as it was being washed down the creek, only to be carried about 50 yards to the tree.
A second woman stopped and attempted to help the woman, only to be carried away by the current and stranded herself, Smith said.
Henry Stoltzfoos, local a farmer, saw the car being swept about 35 feet off the road, he told an LNP|LancasterOnline photographer. The woman was then seeing clinging to the tree to avoid being carried away by the water.
Stoltzfoos then flagged down a passing motorist who called 911, he said.
Firefighters were unable to lower a boat into the water, but instead waded through the current in dry suits in groups of three with throw bags and life jackets to bring the women back to safety.
Neither of the women were injured, Smith said.
The incident was the second water rescue the Robert Fulton Fire Company performed Sunday night, as the area was drenched in about five to seven inches of rain.
A different motorist, this time a man, became waterlogged and stalled on a bridge over the same creek near Nottingham and Eagle roads in Little Britain Township about half an hour earlier around 11 p.m., Smith said. In that case, firefighters were able to escort the man to safety without incident.
Smith said Sunday’s water rescues, while uncommon, are not new to the fire company.
“We do these when we get some of these hard rains and flash floods,” he said. “It’s not something that happens every year, but periodically we do have to go out and do these rescues.”