The story behind the photo of assisted living residents submerged in water

Nursing home rescue La Vita Bella Dickinson Texas flooding nr_00000000
Nursing home rescue La Vita Bella Dickinson Texas flooding nr_00000000

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Story highlights

  • A photo shows residents awaiting rescue amid floodwaters in their facility
  • Galveston County officials say the residents have been safely rescued

(CNN)Residents of an assisted living facility in Dickinson, Texas, were rescued Sunday after they waited patiently for help as floodwaters rose around them.

A dramatic photo circulating on the Internet showed the residents of the La Vita Bella sitting in several feet of water as they waited for help.
Kim McIntosh lives in Florida, but told CNN that her mother, Trudy Lampson, who owns the facility just southeast of Houston, took the photo.
    Nursing home residents in Dickinson, Texas, wait for first responders in a flooded room.
    "My mom sent it to me at 9 this morning. She said it was a disaster," McIntosh said Sunday. "They [were] waiting for helicopters or the National Guard."
    "Most of these people are in wheelchairs and [on] oxygen," she said.
    McIntosh said that when she spoke to her mother over the last couple days, Lampson told McIntosh that the residence was not told to evacuate. Instead, they were instructed to stay in place and have a disaster plan.
    McIntosh told CNN's Chris Cuomo on Monday morning the water became waist-deep 10 to 15 minutes after it first started flowing through the doors.
    But when the situation turned dire and Lampson began reaching out for a rescue, she was told that first-responders wouldn't be able to help, the daughter said.
    "They were basically told no one was coming because they couldn't reach them," McIntosh said. "They might be put on a list, and that was it."
    "That's when we decided to go ahead and tweet the photos, because we were afraid she wasn't going to get any help," McIntosh said.
    Hundreds of people took to social media Sunday to seek help from emergency services.
    The National Guard arrived in trucks, she said, and were able to rescue the residents.
    McIntosh said that her mother was able to escape and is now with the residents at another assisted living facility.
    The Galveston Office of Emergency Management confirmed that the residents had been rescued from the facility.
    "They were up to their waist" in water, said Ken Clark, a Galveston County commissioner.
    Between 20 to 25 people were rescued Sunday afternoon, Clark said.
    First-responders working as the Houston area copes with catastrophic flooding are facing big challenges, with the high water levels and a lack of resources, such as equipment and personnel, he said.
    "We have complete sections of freeways that were closed and intersections that are closed," Clark said. And it's still raining.
    He told CNN the county has received more than 1,000 requests for evacuation and rescue.