CANAJOHARIE — Emergency responders rescued 13 people Wednesday night after flash flooding in Canajoharie Creek stranded several groups who were enjoying the river that afternoon.
Canajoharie Police Chief Bryan MacFadden said a family of six was congregating at one of the creek’s pools adjacent to Mill Street when a surge of water carried them downstream.
“A young boy ran on Mill Street and pounded on the door of a firefighter at 6:15 p.m.,” MacFadden said. “He just said the rest of his family had been swept down to the other side of the river.”
“Where they were, it’s normally a placid pool, and they said a wall of water just came down over them,” MacFadden added.
He said the creek often rises during heavy rainfall, but never in his memory has it risen as fast as it did Wednesday night.
“We don’t normally have a wall of water come up; they were sitting on the rocks and were literally washed away,” he said.
A second group comprising a father and two daughters were on the west side of the creek when the flood hit. They retreated to high ground and called 911, telling dispatchers they were stranded. Emergency responders reached the group using a trail network known to the Canajoharie Fire Department, and with minimal rope work, they were able to extract the family.
Four others were on the east side of the creek, in a gorge, when the flash flood hit. They also retreated to high ground but were trapped against a 100-foot cliff and could not get out of the gorge.
“That’s where the rope rescue came in, and that’s what took a long time,” MacFadden said.
click here to read more.