Sunday, August 7, 2011

Calgary man dies after being swept into stormwater, Canada - 7th Aug 2011

A man who went to check on his car during a sudden and vicious rainstorm was swept under surging water and died Friday night in a possible drowning.

As a torrent of rain and hail battered his northwest street, Richard Yeoman looked outside his basement suite and saw fast-rising waters suddenly surrounding his Ford Focus.

Yeoman's upstairs neighbour, Ken Wielechowicz, said the 60-year-old man was worried about his vehicle.

"The waves were just coming over his car and he said he wanted to move it," recalls Wielechowicz. "I said a joke, ‘you've got insurance, you should just leave it.'"

But Yeoman went anyway, a tragic decision that would ultimately lead to his death in one of the worst storms this summer, affecting much of the city's north end. Emergency crews received 113 calls between 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., among them were 62 flood calls, 10 collisions, five house fires, and three water rescues.

The storm brought hail, which quickly clogged city sewers, and a downpour of rain, flooding streets in a number of communities.

Moments after Yeoman went to his vehicle, Wielechowicz, wondering where his friend was, checked on him and discovered Yeoman unconscious, pinned under his car as a torrent of water raced downhill along the curb.

"They were rapids. It was terrible. It was like whitewater," said Wielechowicz.

He waded into the knee-high water to help him get out from under the car but the elements were overwhelming.

"I just couldn't pull him out. He was too heavy and the water was too strong."

Two other people came to help and they too couldn't get Yeoman out from under his car.

It took four other men, to lift the car before Yeoman was freed and later put in an ambulance.

Yeoman, a father of two adult children, died in hospital.

Yeoman's unlikely death has left his friends shaken as they try to come to grips with his passing. Read More