AUSTIN, TX (KXAN) — Late Saturday night, Craig Williams of Austin learned his brother’s house in Cumberland County, North Carolina was filling with water.
“There was water just pouring into his house, and so my parents get this text from him, and I think he literally said like ‘I’m almost drowning,’” explains Craig.
His brother, Chris Williams, was stuck in his attic with his dog, trying to escape the flood. “We called local emergency services, the fire department and nothing would go through,” said Craig.
After repeated calls to 911 and local emergency personnel in the area, neither Chris nor Craig could get through to anyone. That’s when Craig started looking on Twitter, where he came across a drone photo of a flooded neighbor. He jokingly sent it to his brother Chris through Facebook messenger.
“Just trying to give him a laugh, I said ‘hey man at least you’re not this guy.’ I had no idea,” explains Craig. That is, no idea it was his brother’s house in the photo.
“It occurs to me, this guy just posted this. If he’s in the neighborhood right now filming, he must have a boat or something,” explains Craig.
So Craig reached out to the photographer on Twitter. He didn’t have his own boat, but he was able to flag down a FEMA rescue crew and bring them to Chris.
“He told me he was getting a guy with a drone to bring a boat,” said Chris. And I’m kind of like ‘is he messing with me right now?’ I was kind of in disbelief, but it worked and there was a drone hovering right in front of me.”
After about 14 hours in his attic, Chris was finally free. “My physical reaction when I got on to dry land with my dog, it was really similar to some stuff when deployed,” says Chris, a veteran.
Chris was stranded in his house from late Saturday night to Sunday afternoon. He was then able to meet the drone photographer in person, to say thank you for bringing help.