A Florida sheriff’s deputy risked his life to rescue a man who was trapped in floodwaters, with both men sucked underwater into a drainage pipe, gripping video shows.
Escambia County Deputy William Hollingsworth and the citizen in distress were carried nearly 100 feet underwater beneath a four-lane highway before resurfacing on the other side, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said Friday.
For several days now, Escambia County has been hit with severe weather and torrential downpours, which peaked early Friday morning.
Hollingsworth was on patrol to assist stranded motorists who were caught in rapidly rising waters, the sheriff’s office said. During his patrol, the deputy came across a man with a disabled vehicle.
Body camera footage captured the terrifying moment Hollingsworth was caught by the floodwaters mid-rescue and dragged underwater through a drainage pipe by the side of the road.
For nearly 30 seconds, roaring water drowns out all other noise as Hollingsworth appears to tumble through darkness. By some miracle, he and the man in distress resurfaced on the other side of the highway, where the drainage pipe had an outlet.
Video shows Hollingsworth immediately rushed to the other man’s aid once he was able. “You okay, buddy? Can you believe what just happened to us?” the amazed and terrified deputy exclaims.
He tells the man to breathe and helps him to his feet. “I almost died,” the shocked citizen says.
Hollingsworth was able to help the man to safety and called other police officers for assistance. The man who was in distress thanked the officers profusely.
“When I came out, you were right there,” he tells Hollingsworth.
The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said the footage is an example of the “exceptional courage displayed by the men and women of law enforcement every day.”
Many Facebook users commented on the sheriff’s office statement, praising the valor of the deputy and thanking the police for risking their lives to keep citizens safe.
“This is an outstanding show of courage,” one user wrote. “From one law enforcement officer to another; you are the example of what protect and serve means … I salute you.”
“God Bless this Officer and the guy he saved. Deputy Hollingsworth thank you for such a Selfless Man you are,” another user wrote.
There were at least 349 rescues from flooding in Escambia County overnight Thursday, local station WEAR reported. Escambia County deputies rescued 269 people from flooding at Forest Creek Apartment complex in West Pensacola.