Ky. family of five drown in floodwaters near Patoka

PATOKA — A Kentucky family traveling along Farthing Road Saturday night lost their lives when it is believed they attempted to cross a low-water bridge between Berry and Britt roads and were swept away in floodwaters.

The family has been identified as Adam and Erin Schutt, of Elkton, Kentucky, and their three children Logan, Robbyn and Chad.

A call from the vehicle was made to Centralia dispatch around 7:30 Saturday night, and before the phone went dead it was believed only two people were in the vehicle. However, when firefighters were finally able to access the car around 11 p.m., the sad discovery was made that five people perished in the floodwaters.

(Credit: pimonpim)
(Credit: pimonpim)

Patoka firefighters were dispatched to the area and as we reported Saturday night, dive teams from Keyesport and Greenville were called to assist. The car was ultimately found approximately 150 to 200 feet off the roadway and was ultimately hooked and brought back to the roadway with a truck.

Marion County Coroner Troy Cannon pronounced all five occupants dead at the scene and says all five died from drowning.

According to Cannon, the first firefighter on the scene made verbal contact with the occupants. But shortly afterward, the car became dislodged, moved downstream a short distance further, and became completely submerged, makingĀ  impossible.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with funeral expenses for the family.

The bridge is for low-water crossing only. It is estimated the water level across that area had reached four to five feet of swiftly moving water above the roadway when the travelers from Kentucky entered the lowest section of the roadway. They were reportedly traveling from Kentucky to Minnesota at the time of the tragedy.

As rain continues, so does flooding. It is safe to assume most low-lying areas that are prone to flooding are flooded and are best avoided.

Emergency crews were kept busy Saturday night with multiple reports of cars being swept off roadways and being submerged in floodwaters. However, no other reports have been made of fatalities.

Please avoid driving across flooded roads. Do not place yourselves, your vehicle occupants and emergency personnel in danger by attempting to cross flooded roadways. As we have seen, the danger is very real.

Floods, especially flash floods, kill more people each year than hurricanes, tornadoes, wind storms or lightning.

About 60-percent of all flood deaths are people in vehicles that moving water sweeps away.

If you drive into seemingly shallow water, you could land your car or truck in water two or three feet deep, which is enough to float a car away.

Experts advise you not to drive or wade into flood water at all, especially if you can’t see the bottom. Water over a road, no matter how deep, can hide washed-out pavement. As little as six inches of moving water is enough to float a small car and carry it away.

Flowing water can be deceptively strong, packing a significant punch no one expects:

  • Fresh water moving at only 4 mph, a brisk walking pace, exerts a force of about 66 pounds on each square foot of anything it encounters;
  • Double the water speed to 8 mph and the force zooms to about 264 pounds per square foot. That’s enough force to punch a car or light truck off a flooded road if the water’s up to door level. Imagine what it would do to a person!