GREAT FALLS — A passing motorist rescued a woman who was trapped on top of a vehicle that was nearly submerged by the frigid floodwaters that have covered roads and threatened homes and farms across northern Montana, a witness recounted Thursday.
Blake Wombold told the Great Falls Tribune that he was driving along U.S. Highway 2 near Dunkirk on Tuesday night when the truck ahead of him stopped along the roadway that was partially covered with water. He heard yelling in the distance, and he turned to see a woman standing on top of her vehicle off the highway, with the water rushing all around.
“Then I saw the guy in the passenger seat (of the truck) start stripping off his clothes and taking his wallet and phone out of this pocket,” Wombold said.
The man reached the woman, but she was initially afraid to swim in the cold water.
“The other guy in the water convinced her she needed to get to safety and put her in front of them and they swam across the water,” he said.
A video posted on Facebook by Kalispell resident Matt McCollam shows the rescue. McCollam said in his post that his brother Seth rescued the woman and gave her a blanket to warm herself, before driving her up the highway to meet her husband.
Neither Matt nor Seth McCollam immediately responded to email requests for comment.
Rapidly melting snow after a winter of near-record snowfall is swelling streams and causing flooding across much of the U.S. Highway 2 corridor near the border with Canada.
Gov. Steve Bullock has declared a flooding emergency in seven counties, the Fort Belknap Reservation and the town of Chester. Several homes have been evacuated in the town of Harlem.
The Milk River, which runs parallel to the highway, is expected to be in flood stage until early May, according to the National Weather Service.
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