Couple plucked from tree in dramatic Rimrock water rescuePosted: Updated:
SEDONA - An Arizona couple was trapped in fast-moving flood waters Monday night and 3TV has new details on what happened and how they made it out alive.
The couple is feeling lucky to be alive and say they are sorry that they decided to cross and thankful to firefighters who responded in time to save them.
"It was pretty horrible," admits Heather Coules. "I didn't think we were going to make it actually, I really didn't."
Coules and her boyfriend, Terry, were trying to cross West Beaver Creek on their ATV's but were swept away and nearly drowned in five-feet of rushing water while waiting to be rescued. She tells 3TV, "I kept slipping off my boyfriendheld me, himself and the tree."
A swift water rescue team of 10 from Rimrock, Sedona and Camp Verde moved in but the couple had to hold on for almost three hours before being brought to safety.
Coules explains, "It was horrible. It was so cold."
Both Coulter and Terry suffered from hypothermia. Terry remains hospitalized. 3TV caught up with Coulter crossing the creek on the foot bridge. She admits, "That's how I normally get across."
It is what people in this area called Lower McGuireville have to do. It is split by West Beaver Creek and is often stranded for a few days every spring when the snow melts and the water rises.
Coulter explains, "Gotta do whatch'ya gotta do to get in and out of the house."
Still others roll the dice and drive across. Some make it, but others like Coulter and Terry do not.
Rimrock Fire Chief Michael Van Dyke says say they respond to a couple of rescues like this every year. "The residents who live down there live with this all the time. They should be aware, pay attention."
Aaron Smith tells 3TV he will not risk it. "There are times I've seen the water within a foot of this walking bridge and there are certainly times you don't cross the creek."
That is a lesson this couple learned the hard way after six years of living there.
Coulter admits, "I just misjudged."
With all this warm weather, firefighters and forecasters expect rivers and creeks to continue to rise as the snow melts.
They are warning everyone to be careful because even those seemingly calm streams can have a strong current.