North Carolina

Watch tattoo artists jump in Michael floodwaters to save NC man from drowning in truck

Tattoo artists saved man from drowning in floodwaters

North Carolina man captured this video of Art Attack Tattoo employees from Winston-Salem jumping into floodwaters caused by Tropical Storm Michael to save a man from drowning in his truck.
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North Carolina man captured this video of Art Attack Tattoo employees from Winston-Salem jumping into floodwaters caused by Tropical Storm Michael to save a man from drowning in his truck.

A newly-installed camera system proved its worth on Thursday when it captured a man being rescued from Tropical Storm Michael floodwaters outside a North Carolina tattoo studio.

Chad Mabe said he was driving along Reynolda Road in Winston-Salem when he saw a truck being submerged in floodwaters in the ditch in front of Art Attack Tattoo.

He took an initial video with his cellphone as he arrived to find employees of the studio rushing outside as water began to submerge the cab of the truck with the driver still inside.

Once I seen the truck was going under I thought the only way we could save him was to hook my big truck up with a chain and pull him back up out of that hole,” Mabe told The News & Observer on Friday.

Ray Castillo captured the Broad River raging over its banks in the Bat Cave, NC area and the Hickory Nut Gorge Campground area.

As Mabe worked to get into position, a rear-facing camera on his truck captured video of Art Attack manager Jennifer Fowler and others leaping into action.

The moment Jennifer jumps in the water when the truck goes under!!” Mabe wrote as he shared footage of the rescue on Facebook.

In her own Facebook post, Fowler, a Navy veteran, said the floodwater had shifted the truck and it was quickly being sucked under a bridge. She was the person in position to jump in after the man while others were calling 911, she wrote.

“It was up to me or he was going to drown,” Fowler told The N&O on Friday. “I didn’t put a lot of thought into it, just action.”

The rescued man “took in a lot of water,” but was going to be OK, Fowler said on Facebook.

Fowler credited Art Attack artists Houston Black and Mike Lamb with forming a “man chain to pull us out of the water.”

“I may have been the first to jump in the water, but once I had him out of the truck … the guys were the heroes,” Fowler wrote in a followup post. “I can’t express the feeling I felt when I looked back to that chain of people reaching to pull us up out of the water. I am forever touched by this day.”

At least 23 people had been rescued in North Carolina during Hurricane Michael’s flooding, according to multiple reports across the state, including two people from a hammock in Asheville.

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