What you should know
- Five people were killed amid flash flooding triggered by a powerful thunderstorm.
- Officials are still searching for two missing children.
- Pa. Gov Josh Shapiro called the fatal flooding a “devastating blow” and warned residents to avoid large bodies of water.
Five deaths have been confirmed after a flash flood Saturday evening swept through a road in Bucks County and officials are still looking for two missing children.
During a press conference at the Township Building in Newtown on Sunday, officials confirmed the childrens’ family is from Charleston, S.C., and were on their way to a barbecue when their vehicle got stuck in flood waters.
The father and his 4-year-old son were able to escape, while the mother and grandmother and the other two children were swept away. Officials recovered the mother’s body Sunday, making her the fifth victim. Three of the recovered victims’ ages range from their 40s to their 60s.
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro called the news of the five deaths a “devastating blow.”
“On behalf of more than 13 million Pennsylvanians, I want Bucks County to know that we are here with you,” Shapiro said. “We are praying with you, and we will continue to do everything in our power to lift you up.”
According to WHYY News partner 6abc, torrential rains occurred at about 5:30 p.m. Saturday in the Washington Crossing area. Upper Makefield’s fire chief Tim Brewer, told reporters there was “approximately four to five feet of water over the road.” Three cars were swept away, and eight people were rescued from the cars and two from a nearby creek.
“We cannot even begin [to] imagine what the families are going through with two beautiful children gone,” Brewer said. “They are aware of the outpouring, support and concern from the community and from loved ones and that have shown them. And despite this devastating grief that they are going through, they hear your prayers as well as your well wishes.”
On Sunday, Brewer said the “mass casualty incident” is something local officials “have never seen before.
“We are all grieving,” Brewer said. “However, our commitment to finding the two children will still be unwavering as we do all we can to bring them home to our loved ones.”
About 150 people were searching the creek Saturday night and 100 were involved in the search Sunday morning. Brewer says officials will provide an update Monday at 9 a.m.
“We have your backs and we will be here as long as it takes to make sure Bucks County gets back up on its feet,” Shapiro said.
The northeast United States has seen a series of flooding incidents throughout the past week, including in Vermont leaving one person dead.
Flood warnings for the Delaware Valley region are in effect through Sunday evening.
According to NBC News, more than 1,300 flights across the northeastern United States were canceled due to the severe weather. The Federal Aviation Administration said flights from PHL to Boston, Newark, and New York were delayed between 1.5 to 4 hours.