Dozens of people rescued from flooding in Pender County following Matthew

PENDER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) — Emergency crews have rescued more than two dozen people from the Black River Basin in Pender County.

Click for more images of Matthew and its aftermath
Click for more images of Matthew and its aftermath

A mandatory evacuation was issued for the area on Tuesday.

“The river started rising about three to five inches an hour, which is extremely fast,” said Chief Woody Sullivan with Pender EMS and Fire.

He said 25 people were rescued by helicopter alone and more than a dozen others were rescued by their heavy duty vehicle and boats.


“Soon as the calls came in, we started dispatching going and doing recoveries, everything from chickens to people to goats,” said Sullivan. “Most of these folks, when we get to them, the water is two or three feet deep if not completely in their homes, they are losing everything. This is somewhere between a Floyd and a 1945 event for these people it is catastrophic, it is truly catastrophic.”

Sullivan said emergency crews have been working around the clock, some are going on close to 40 hours.

“It is tough for all of us, we’ve got people working for us today, that have lost everything they have and they are still working today trying to help their neighbors,” Sullivan explained.

Emergency management said crews went door-to-door evacuating people, but 158 people refused to leave.

So far more than 100 homes have flooded.

Kemp Burdette lives along the Black River, and said the first floor of his home is entirely flooded entirely. The river rose several feet just last night, and is continuing to rise. Even when it does begin to go down, it will take some time.

“The water is going to go down more slowly than it came up,” said Burdette, “It’s going to have to be a wait and see (situation) and understanding that it’s a little hazardous to be out in that kind of water.”

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