Surveillance videos show how flood victims were trapped in under 12 minutes

Surveillance video obtained by News4 Investigates shows how fast flood waters rushed into...
Surveillance video obtained by News4 Investigates shows how fast flood waters rushed into Waverly on Aug. 21, 2021.(WSMV)
Updated: Sep. 2, 2021 at 5:33 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - In the strongest proof yet of why many people found themselves suddenly trapped on the day of the deadly flooding in Waverly, new surveillance video shows the speed and strength of surges of water.

The video shows yards and houses were flooded in under 12 minutes.

The video comes following a series of News4 investigations that identified where the water likely came from and how the sheriff believes it killed so many people.

Michael Phillips’ security cameras were rolling as he, his wife and children were inside on the morning of Aug. 21.

The video shows how quickly the water swamped his back yard, rising to the top of the railing of his back deck in just minutes.

The video also shows Phillips trying to climb over the railing to see if he and his family could wade out to safety.

Feeling the strength of the current, the video shows him quickly climbing back inside.

“The current was coming through so strong we couldn’t do it,” Phillips said.

The situation in the front yard was no better.

Surveillance video from the front of the house showed the yard soaked with water but not flooded. Minutes later, water started trickling in, knocking over a trash can. Three minutes later, the entire yard and street have become a river. Another trash can begins to flow down the stream, followed by a truck and a car.

The front yard goes from puddle to overflowing with water in under 12 minutes.

Phillips had no choice but to start lifting his family onto the roof.

“I threw the two dogs on the roof, then we put our daughter up there, we put my wife next, and we put our sons up there. That’s where we were until our neighbors started going around to save people,” Phillips said.

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