MISSOULA – A handful of homeless people were rescued from their camp in the middle of the Clark Fork River after rising flood waters begin to cut off any chance of escape.
Missoula firefighters were called to the Reserve Street Bridge late Thursday morning with reports that one man had been cut off from the camp and the only exit from the island, by an 8-foot channel of water getting deeper by the hour.
The Swiftwater Rescue team geared up and made their way onto the island, crossing the channel adjacent to the bridge which was already knee-deep and bound to get deeper Thursday evening.
While deputies told the other people in the camp that it was time to leave the island for their own safety, firefighters reached the elderly man and escorted him to safety.
He told MTN News he had been on the island for about a month but was surprised to see he had been cut off suddenly when he woke up Thursday morning.
Others were taking their tents, packs and bicycles and wading to shore. The Missoula Fire Department was working to make arrangements for a bus to get the people to alternative shelter in town.
Reporting by Dennis Bragg for MTN News