Local man's boat almost capsizes while helping Harvey victims

Kurtis Quillin reports.

LOCAL MAN'S BOAT ALMOST CAPSIZES WHILE H - As Harvey flooded southeast Texas breaking all kinds of records, countless people rushed to help, including a group of business owners from the Temple and Belton areas.

Six friends from Bell County took their boats to Houston to help.  

Chris Butler and his cousin were two of the six men who traveled to Houston after hurricane Harvey hit, but after getting in the water, Butler almost became a victim himself.

Butler said he went to Houston Monday morning around 10:00 a.m.

He lives right outside Temple and when his friends told him they were headed south, he grabbed his boat and joined, but when he got his boat in the flood waters near Cypress things went awry.

“That’s when I turned around is when the risk became me needing to be rescued instead of rescuing people,” Butler said. “I decided I wasn’t going to be any good at that point.”

Butler wound up in a whirlpool where two bodies of water met, then his boat took on six inches of water from all the rain. When he hit a current, he almost capsized – all of this happening before his motor almost quit.

“It was like the motor didn’t do anything. I barely got out of that whirlpool,” Butler said. “I didn’t know whether we would make it or not but I kept telling my cousin we were.:

While Chris spent, hours getting back to a safer place, his friend Blake Vandusen near Buffalo Bayou rescuing stranding residents – not knowing his friend was almost a victim too.

“It’s unfortunate that happens to somebody you know, and especially when their heart was in the right place,” Vandusen.

When Butler finally returned home, the reality of his situation sank in.

“It was like a dream. Looking back at it – it was surreal,” Butler said.

But he said his trip was a real wake up call to just how dangerous things in south Texas have become because of Hurricane Harvey, but he said he still plans to help as much as he can.

Both friends ask people to learn from this disaster. Whether that’s evacuating or improving survival skills to reduce rescues and fatalities in the future. 

© 2017 KCEN-TV


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