4 dead after flooding in Pennsylvania; 2 small children and adult missing

A sudden flash flood swamped a southeastern Pennsylvania road, sweeping several cars away and claiming at least four lives. Three other people, including two small children from the same family, remain missing.

Officials in Bucks County’s Makefield Township said torrential rains occurred at about 5:30 p.m. Saturday in the Washington Crossing area.

Tim Brewer, Upper Makefield’s fire chief, told reporters that the area got about 6 1/2 to seven inches of rain in 45 minutes.

“In my 44 years, I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said. “When the water came up, it came up very swiftly. We do not think that anybody drove into it, that they were actively on that road when it happened.”

There was “approximately four to five feet of water over the road,” he said. There were about 11 cars on the road at the time, and three were swept away.

Two women and a man, ranging in age from 40 to 60s, were found dead.

Another body has also been recovered, officials said late Sunday morning. No details about that person have been released.

Two small children, including a 9-month-old boy and a 2-year-old girl from the same family, are missing.

An adult female is also missing.

Eight people were rescued from the cars and two from the creek, Brewer said.

All three vehicles swept away were later located, and no one was found inside. One was about 1.5 miles from where it entered the creek.

“We are treating this as a rescue but we are fairly certain we are in a recovery mode at this time,” Brewer said.

Upper Makefield Police released a list of roads that remained closed Sunday morning:

– Taylorsville Road from Route 532 to Route 295

– River Road by Francisco’s

– River Road between Route 532 and Mt. Eyre Road

Authorities also remind people to not travel through flooded roadways.

About 150 people were searching the creek during the night and 100 were involved Sunday morning, walking along the creek, he said.


Residents in the area told reporters the flooding was extreme.

“There were about five to seven minutes in there when, really, the sky opened up,” said Nick Primola from Yardley.

He told reporters he saw cars swept away, upside down, and abandoned in the local roadways.

“I guess it was just fortunate timing because the people who were there probably just 10 minutes before didn’t have as much luck. They really didn’t have any warning and they were caught up in it,” said Primola.

The rain came and went so quickly, Primola said it’s impossible to prepare for.

“I haven’t seen anything like this before this quick. I mean this is an area where there are a lot of waterways, so people are used to flooding, but I think that’s why it snuck up on these people who were driving,” he said.

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