Huge Pipe Break Traps DC-Area Drivers

Boats used for rescue as 4-foot-deep, frigid water gushes around cars in Md. suburb
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 23, 2008 9:46 AM CST
A rescue worker helps a person from a stranded vehicle during this morning's water-pipe break in Bethesda, Md.   (WJLA-TV)
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(Newser) – Rescuers in helicopters scrambled to pull motorists from frigid floodwaters unleashed by a massive water pipe break this morning on a commuter road just outside Washington. TV images showed two people in a minivan climbing into a basket lowered from a helicopter overhead. Rescuers also used a boat to save drivers from fast-flowing waters at least 4 feet deep.

The valves to shut off the deluge were underwater, a sanitation official said. About a dozen people have been rescued from their vehicles, said a Montgomery County (Md.) official, noting that crews were having trouble getting to people because the water was moving so swiftly. He said several of those rescued were treated for hypothermia in the 20-degree weather.