NEW: Police diver carries group to safety across chest-deep rushing water
Evacuation count now in hundreds
Governor declares emergency
Flood threat for New Mexico continues through the weekend
More rain was on the way after flooding forced hundreds of people in New Mexico to evacuate, prompting Gov. Susana Martinez to declare an emergency Friday.
Martinez’ declaration said evacuations by air and ground had taken place in Eddy County in southeastern New Mexico, Sierra County in the southwest part of the state and San Miguel County in the northeast.
Her order provided funds for state emergency officials to assist local authorities and directed the National Guard to respond as needed.
A state police diver and local firefighters staged a dramatic rescue of several people trapped by the rising Pecos River about 10 miles west of Roswell, officials said.
The diver repeatedly crossed 30 feet of chest-deep rushing water carrying members of the group, which included children and elderly people. The evacuees were then taken to an American Red Cross shelter.
Fifty people were moved to a Red Cross center at the high school in Las Vegas in northeast New Mexico, said Esteban Lujan, public information officer of the state Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Management.
In Truth or Consequences, some bridges and roads were washed out and about 20 people evacuated, Lujan said.
The National Weather Service said the threat of flooding will continue through the weekend.
David Simpson contributed to this report.