'One in a Million': Chance Drone Pic Saves Trapped Man

Texas' Craig Williams just happened to see photo online of brother's flooded home in NC
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2016 8:05 AM CDT
Drone Pic Helps Texas Man Save Twin Trapped in NC
Chris' home is shown on the far right.   (Instagram)

A drone photo, a Twitter hashtag, and a concerned brother more than a thousand miles away all helped save a North Carolina veteran trapped in his home by Hurricane Matthew flooding. Craig Williams, who lives in Austin, Texas, was worried about his twin, Chris, who had fled Saturday night to the second floor of his Hope Mills home with his dog, Lana (who can't swim) after floodwaters filled the entire first floor of the house, the Washington Post reports. Craig, only able to communicate with Chris via Facebook Messenger, says both tried to call 911, but to no avail. Craig then contacted WFMY, which got through to Cumberland County 911, but they said rescues were hampered by the floods. Enter Quavas Hart, also an Afghanistan veteran, who was flying his drone over flooded areas, including Hope Mills, posting pics on social media with the #HopeMills hashtag.

Craig happened to see one of Hart's pics on Sunday morning showing houses submerged nearly up to their roofs and sent it to his trapped brother, joking, "At least it isn't this bad." Except one of the houses in the photo was Chris' house (the one on the far right with one missing blue shutter), and once Craig realized that he went into panic mode. He reached out to Hart on Twitter, and Hart jumped into action, flagging down a FEMA boat and leading it to Chris' house with his drone; Chris and Lana were safely evacuated. "I couldn't believe this guy was way in Texas, and he just happened to see his brother's house on the Internet," Hart says, calling it a "one in a million chance." Craig calls the whole experience "insane," per the Post. (See pics of the damage done to Chris' house on the GoFundMe page Craig has set up.)

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