Pam Jones left her home in Friendswood, Texas, on Saturday so she could ride out tropical storm Harvey with her parents in nearby Dickinson.
None of them expected the flood waters to keep rising into the night. They came in through the garage, filling the Jones’ home with about three feet of water and trapping the family upstairs, Jones said.
“It was shocking,” she said. “It just creeped up.”
The family waited for the Coast Guard to rescue them. They waited for Jones’ sons to come for them on jet skis. But a volunteer rescue boat carrying a CNN crew found them first.
“We were about to leave the neighborhood, but we heard your voice,” CNN correspondent Ed Lavandera told Jones after aiding in the family’s rescue.
“Yeah, well, thank God,” Jones said.
Lavandera, producer Jason Morris and cameraman Joel De La Rosa were riding with Austin Seth in his boat searching for people trapped by the high waters. Seth was one of many Texans to answer a call from authorities for volunteers with boats to assist in search and rescue efforts. A resident of Lake Jackson, he rode an hour out to Galveston County to lend a hand.
They had done five or six laps around the Bayou Chantilly neighborhood when they heard Jones’ cry for help. They pulled up and found Jones at the door with her 86-year-old father, Elmore, and her 83-year-old mother, JoAnn.
Seth jumped into the waters and waded into the home as the CNN crew watched from the boat. As the camera rolled, Seth led Elmore Jones to the boat, and Lavandera helped pull him up. The rest of the crew assisted in bringing aboard JoAnn, Pam and the couples’ two dogs.
After the rescue, Seth brought them back to a place along Interstate 45 where evacuees can reunite with loved ones or find transportation to shelters. Pam Jones’ husband and daughter eventually picked them up and brought them back home to Friendswood.
“We’re very thankful to everyone for the rescue,” she told CNN.