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New Castle woman tells story of survival

By Orlando Salinas, osalinas@wdbj7.com
Published On: Jul 09 2013 09:22:11 PM EDT
Updated On: Jul 09 2013 11:32:54 PM EDT

It's a story you'll only see on WDBJ7.

Kathy Wingfield is from New Castle and knows just how powerful flood waters can be.

The 68-year-old grandmother was nearly washed away in last week's torrential rains.

Kathy and her husband, Jim Wingfield, were in their Ford truck. They'd just crossed an awfully skinny bridge on Meadows of Craig West.

Wingfield's daughter was following in a second truck but was too afraid to drive. That turned out to be a good decision.

I met the Wingfields near their home. We stood almost on the exact spot where Kathy had been swept away. I had to ask her, "Did you hear that small voice telling you 'do not cross that bridge'?"

Kathy Wingfield thought for a second and said, "Well no, I didn't hear that small voice until I had actually gone in and I said 'Lord what am I going to do'?"

Let's go back to last week, July 3.

Most of our viewing area was under a flood watch, dangerous water rescues were happening, and Craig Creek around the Wingfield's home in New Castle was angry and rising fast.

Jim and Kathy had just driven over a water-covered bridge. Kathy got out to guide her daughter across who was in a second truck.

Jim Wingfield said that's when it happened, "[Kathy] got knocked over up there and went under."

The current forced Kathy underwater and into a culvert. Her body, she says, was tossed around then spit out the other end.

She grabbed a tree 100 yards downstream and was praying the whole time, "And I said 'Lord please let them know I'm ok and he said 'you tell them', and I go 'ok.' I'm ok!!!! and I go 'Where'd that come from?"

The Centers for Disease Control says every year, more people die in floods than any other type of severe weather.

Wingfield's two grandsons jumped in a canoe and stayed with her till she was rescued.

Jim, Kathy's husband, says the lesson has been learned.

"If I run up on a situation like we had, I won't go through the water, you don't know that road."