COLUMBIA, S.C. — On Sunday morning in Columbia, rescue teams were overwhelmed with calls for help. 71-year-old Clara Gantt was one of those who needed help, and she needed it desperately.
She was on her way to church, when she got caught in floodwaters. Gantt said she knew she was in trouble “when my car stalled on the bridge.”
She called her family, as rushing waters pushed her car into the front yard of a church. Then, she prayed as the water rose to her neck. “I am afraid. I want to get out of this.”
All of a sudden, she saw her grandson Travis Catchings. He had secured himself to a rope, and floated her way. “I was so glad to see him, but I was afraid for him too,” Gantt said.
Her grandson said, “I just looked at her and said, ‘Hey memaw.’ And I smiled at her and she smiled back, and she said, ‘Hey Trav.'”
He pulled Gantt out of the car. To keep from being swept away, Catchings grabbed a large red cross that was in the church yard. Together grandmother and grandson held on for four hours. While waiting, Catchings recorded the moment on a cell phone.
“It was like being in the midst of a raging river,” said Catchings.
“I cling to the cross every day. Sunday I was literally clinging to a cross,” said Gantt. This grandmother is thankful for her faith and her grandson.
“I call him my hero, but he doesn’t want me to,” Gantt said.
“I love you. That’s what we’re here for,” Catchings said.
His grandmother said, “I do too, I’m really glad you’re here.”
The cross disappeared after Catchings and Gantt were rescued. It was last seen floating away.
As flood waters recede in Columbia, Gov. Nikki Haley warns that low-lying coastal areas should evacuate and that areas down river could flood for two weeks.
The warning applies to parts of Dorchester, Charleston, Georgetown and Williamsburg counties near the rising Waccamaw and Edisto rivers. Officials couldn’t put a number on how many people are affected, but the counties have a combined 600,000 residents.