23 Dead in Devastating West Virginia Flooding

iStock/Thinkstock(CHARLESTON, W.Va.) — At least 23 people have died from devastating flooding and historic rainfall in West Virginia, according to the state's Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has called the flooding "among the worst in a century" for some parts of the state.

The body of a child who was swept away in fast-moving floodwaters was found this morning, about a mile from where he was last seen in Jackson County Thursday, the Ravenswood Fire Department said.

 

 

Initial reports showed 100 homes were seriously damaged or destroyed, Tomblin said.

But amid the tragedies were stories of heroic actions, Tomblin said: police rescued a woman trapped in her car with water rising to her neck, and some people risked their lives to rescue others who were stranded on rooftops and in rivers.

A state of emergency was declared in 44 of the state's 55 counties.

Some 200 National Guard members were helping Friday in eight counties, Tomblin said.

 

 

Rescue efforts were also underway Friday to save hundreds of people who became stranded inside a West Virginia mall overnight after a bridge connecting the shopping center to a main road collapsed and washed away, officials told ABC News.

About 500 people, including employees and customers, became got stuck inside the Crossings Mall in Elkview, about 12 miles from Charleston, around 4 p.m. Thursday, said Rick McElhaney, assistant deputy director with Metro 911 in Kanawha County.

First responders walked some people from the mall around to a back road to board public transportation, an official with the Kanawha County Emergency Operations Center told ABC News Friday morning.

"I have a farm, I have got to get home," one woman said while walking down a steep hill behind the mall.

Crews were also working Friday to build a gravel road to get people out. But some people stayed at the mall because their homes were flooded.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Check Also

Marine who lost both legs is running 31 marathons in 31 days to raise money for wounded veterans

Credit: Rob Jones(NEW YORK) -- Rob Jones, a Marine who lost his legs in 2010 to an explosion while overseas in Afghanistan, is traveling the country to run 31 marathons in 31 days while raising money for wounded veteran charities.Jones' month of marath...