14 dead in West Virginia flooding, hundreds still stranded in mall (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
About 500 people became stranded inside a shopping mall in the town of Elkview, some 12 miles (19km) from the state’s capital, Charleston, on Thursday. Employees and customers became trapped inside Crossings Mall after a bridge that connected the center to a main road collapsed.
— Eyewitness News (@wchs8fox11) June 24, 2016
While the bridge was completely washed out by the severe waters, emergency teams are now working on building a new, temporary one to help people get out of the shopping center.
The relief effort hit a snag after the original temporary bridge built by the National Guard turned out to be too short, reported WSAZ. A new bridge was sent for.
State authorities are building a gravel road to approach the shopping plaza from the other side, but it will not be finished until Saturday afternoon, the governor’s office told RT. Fortunately, people stranded at the shopping center have plenty of food available, and the area still has electricity, RT found out from the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
— Matt Saffer (@TheMattSaffer) June 24, 2016
At least six people were reported dead in the state by Friday morning. Three of the victims, including an elderly man and a woman who was washed away in her vehicle, were from Kanawha County, where Charleston is located.
A view of a home in Clendenin from I-79 pic.twitter.com/LTFQnDm0nQ
— Spencer Daily (@Spencer_Daily) June 24, 2016
Two more people died in Greenbrier County, the local sheriff announced on Friday.
— Sam Owens (@SamOwensphoto) June 24, 2016
In Ohio County, an eight-year-old boy was killed after he slipped into a creek and was carried away, local reports suggested.
Absolutely devastated. My hometown’s completely destroyed. Prayers that my friends & family stay safe through this ? pic.twitter.com/JrEO5yxVOk
— Dev (@devanmalea_xoxo) June 24, 2016
Another child, believed to be between two and four years old, was also swept away by raging waters in Jackson County. Rescue operations to find the missing toddler continued on Friday morning.
— Jason Roth (@Jrothwv) June 24, 2016
Some 500,000 people have been left without power in the state, electric utilities reported.
— Josh Fitzpatrick (@WSAZJoshFitz) June 24, 2016
According to Gov. Tomblin, the flooding is “among the worst in a century for some parts of the state.”