A pregnant woman and her 9-year-old son drowned after their vehicle was swept away by floodwaters Thursday just outside of Philadelphia, PA.
Police identified the victims as 31-year-old Pamela (Pam) Vera Snyder, and her son, Preston Dray, both of Douglass Township.
It was around 4:30 p.m. when they became stranded by floodwater as Snyder, who was 8-months pregnant, tried to drive through flooded Pine Forge Road, Berks County, local police confirmed Friday.
There was flash flooding during thunderstorms and heavy rain. Snyder’s car was overcome by the fast-moving water and eventually swept into the nearby creek which was one of many local streams that overflowed its banks.
Snyder was on the phone with 911 to tell them she and her son were stuck inside her Mazda and the water was rushing inside the vehicle. They were unable to escape.
Douglass Township Chief John Dzurek said: “Our 911 dispatchers were on the line with the victim the whole time and eventually had lost contact with her.”
Large piles of debris were being washed down the Manatawny Creek Thursday afternoon just a few hours after a woman and her son lost their lives near this spot in Douglass Township as flooding ripped their car off Pine Forge Rd. @ReadingEagle pic.twitter.com/KkFD5TQHTV
— Michael Yoder (@YoderReports) July 12, 2019
Officers had trouble locating Snyder’s car as their own police vehicles began to float as they responded, police said. Snyder was on the phone with dispatch for 49 minutes, then the call dropped as water swept the vehicle away.
A major rescue effort was mounted that included watercraft, a helicopter, and a drone, Dzurek says.
“The fire department and the water rescue team even had difficulty getting in because just about every road in the township had some sort of obstacle and made rescue efforts extremely difficult,” Dzurek said.
Hours later, crews found Snyder’s Mazda on the Manatawny creek bed about a half-mile downstream from where she initially called 911.
The woman and child’s bodies were eventually found. They were pronounced dead by the Berks County Coroner’s office.
Crews were still on the scene trying to recover the vehicle that remained in the floodwaters.