El Paso Man Relates Campground Rescue
The Guerrero family from El Paso, Texas, has been getting together every July since the 1980s for the family's annual camping trip in the Upper Canyon near Ruidoso, N.M. And over those two decades, they've never seen anything like what they saw over the weekend, according to KVIA-TV, El Paso.
"It just kept on raining, raining, raining, all the way through the night until Sunday," Carlos Guerrero said, "and we didn't think too much of it."
Until they realized there was no way out.
"That's when we started getting scared, because we didn't know how we were gonna get out," Guerrero said.
Guerrero and 20 members of his family watched as the water kept rising. By early Sunday morning, they were in disbelief, seeing it wash away tents, campers and even cars.
"They said they were sending people in to take us out," Guerrero said. "We were waiting and waiting and waiting and the water was just getting higher and higher and higher."
Then came the sound of a helicopter through the trees.
"Everybody was really excited because they saw we were going to get out," he said.
It turned out the only way out was up. Guerrero was pulled up with his 4-year-old grandson in his arms.
"I was going up on the hoist and the wind hit us and we started going back and forth and when we got up there, that was a relief," Guerrero said. "It was a relief."
Guerrero said the view from the helicopter was shocking.
"Like you were on an island and there was sea all over," he said.
Guerrero said although his grandson enjoyed the ride, he never wants to go through that again.
"I've never seen anything like that ever," he said, "and to be honest with you, I'm not going to go camping anymore, if it's going to be happening like this."
They had to leave six members of the family behind. But all of them are now safe at a makeshift shelter set up at a church in Alto, N.M. They are now trying to make arrangements to retrieve their vehicles.
While much of the flood damage is focused on the Upper Canyon area above Ruidoso, the damage hardly stops there, according to KOB.com.
Residents of an RV park east of the Ruidoso Downs say there was little to no warning of the danger that was just up the river.
The River Ranch RV Park looks more like a mud and debris ranch after the storms that hit Ruidoso over the weekend.
Residents say they were awakened by a 5-foot wall of mud early Sunday that washed away mobile homes and RVs.
Now residents are left to wonder what they will do next.
"I sit and wait. Myself and my friend are the only ones staying out here because we have no place else to go. We have no running water, no sewer but we have to stay because we have no place to go," said Sue Alexander.
It’s estimated that there are about 125 mobile and RVs located at the River Ranch RV Park.
Most of the homes were damaged and some were swept into the Rio Ruidoso.
A few people have been able to pull their RVs out of the mud. But the majority will have to dig out from 4 feet of mud before they can get to their RVs and homes to see if they are worth saving.