A North Carolina woman details her escape from alligator-infested flood water

Story highlights

  • Joni Gaddy said rescue helicopters didn't notice her signals for help
  • "I was hoping the alligators wouldn't come into the door," she told WGHP

(CNN)Still dripping wet from the neck-high floodwater that destroyed her home, Joni Gaddy shivered and wept as she recalled the alligators swimming outside her house.

"I'm soaked. The water is up to your neck coming out of the house. The house is destroyed," she told CNN affiliate WGHP, clutching the dog she managed to save.
    "I don't know where my horses are. I have another dog stranded in the house."
    Gaddy had been trapped in her home in Lumberton, North Carolina, since Saturday. For three days she prayed someone would find her.
    "Helicopters were flying around my house. They didn't fly over me, and I had all kinds of signals," she said. "I put notes all over the house. I had sheets hanging out."
    She lived in horror as alligators and snakes infested the water outside her house.
    "I was hoping the alligators wouldn't come into the door," she said. "You can literally sit on the porch and look at the alligators in the water with the snakes."
    Gaddy was finally rescued when her son drove from Texas and arrived on Tuesday.
    "My son and my nephew saved me -- walking through the water, climbing through trees, because there were trees down ... it's a mess."
    Gaddy has lived in her house for 27 years. Now, her fond memories are replaced with heart-wrenching trauma.
    "It was the worst thing," she sobbed. "I don't wish that on anybody. I don't think I'll ever go back to that house."