Man swept away by Madison floodwater, rescued hours later - WKRN News 2

Man swept away by Madison floodwater, rescued hours later

Posted: Updated: Sep 02, 2014 11:20 PM
Robert Bracken was recovering Tuesday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Robert Bracken was recovering Tuesday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

Water rescue crews found a man Saturday night after he was swept away by flash flood waters in Madison.

People who live on Elm and Second streets spotted the man in a creek and alerted firefighters around 7:30 p.m.

“A man's arm and hand came up out of the water and he said 'Help!' The current was going so fast. By the time I set my phone down, I tried to grab him but he was gone,” said Randall Kirby, who lives near the creek.

Shortly thereafter, firefighters showed up to help people in the neighborhood evacuate. Kirby then told them he saw the man, now identified as Robert Bracken.

Bracken spoke from News 2 Tuesday from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center to describe what happened.

He said he is homeless and was sitting near a creek when the water started to rise. He slipped into the water, which was moving so fast he couldn't stand up.

Bracken said he eventually found a branch and clung to it for nearly five hours until he was rescued by fire fighters.

“It was terrifying,” he said. “It was the most terrifying experience I've ever had in my life. It was like I had no control.”

Bracken said he eventually hit a spot where the water slowed down.

“According to what I've heard, I was within 200 feet of the Cumberland,” he added.

The fire department had to use a boat to rescue him, and luckily, he's expected to recover from his injuries.

“It's a miracle he's alive because it got all these rocks and stuff,” said Kirby of the creek.

Residents on Elm Street told News 2 this is the second time in a year the area has flooded.

“I get scared. I get worried. I get worried every time it rains,” said Teresa Kirby, Randall's wife.

She said last August they lost almost everything they own when their house got flooded.

“We lost furniture, and clothes, and curtains. We had to start all over,” said Teresa.

Firefighters said the drains in the area can't handle all the rain all at once.

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