Flood survivor rescued from tree warns community to avoid rushing waters

Flood survivor rescued from tree warns community to avoid rushing waters

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - What was a regular spring Wednesday in May for Cory Aycock, soon turned into a downpour.

He said he saw inches of rain - five or more - pooling in his neighborhood on Biggers Road along Standing Boy Creek in Muscogee County.

"Around maybe 2 p.m.," he said,"this entire area had already come up to [my chest]."

After hopping onto a raft to take his mother, who just returned from work, from her car back to the house, Aycock's friends soon dropped by, watching the water level continue to rise. Aycock said he tried to get their attention.

"There's no current or anything," he said. "I was just like, maybe I can get to a place where I can just wave at them and say, 'Hey.''"

One misstep in the chest-high waters, and Cory was swept away, pulled under by heavy boots and clothes until he found something to grab.

"Somehow, there was a tree that got caught in the rapids with me," Aycock said. "This tree was following behind me, and it pinned up (another) tree over there, and I was able to hold on...'cause if I let go, I was going to drown because I can't swim."

45 seemingly-endless minutes later, a specially-trained team of Columbus Fire and EMS rescuers navigated through the waters and pulled Aycock onto their boat.

"I reached up with one hand. I almost slipped, but the guy grabbed two of my fingers, and just yanked me up at that point."

Looking back on his experience - which left him sleepless some nights - Aycock wants others to live for the simple things in life and to not underestimate mother nature.

"The pressure and power that nature holds...you don't expect it until you experience it. If I've learned anything, it's to respect mother nature a whole lot more than I used to."

Aycock's lesson is one that top officials with Columbus Fire & EMS, and Emergency Management Agency directors want families to understand, especially when dealing with flood waters.

They urge families to avoid wading into deep waters, despite having prior knowledge of a street's location or a body of water's shoreline.

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