Two siblings, a 9-month-old boy and a 2-year-old girl, are still missing after flash floods hit a southeastern Pennsylvania highway, killing their mother and four others, local police confirmed to news week.
“We have 5 who have died tragically and 2 children, a 9-month-old boy and his 2-year-old sister, still missing,” the Upper Makefield Township Police Department said. news week in a Facebook message on Sunday.
A powerful storm brought torrential rain Saturday night, and in two hours, parts of Bucks County were affected by 4.64 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). While various parts of the county were affected by flooding, especially near the Delaware River, a stretch of Pennsylvania Route 532 was inundated. The flash flooding caused numerous road closures and several vehicles to be swept away in Upper Makefield Township, which is approximately 35 miles from Philadelphia.
Multiple law enforcement agencies, including Upper Makefield Township Police, launched a search and rescue operation for seven people lost in floodwaters Saturday night along Route 532 near Taylorsville and Washington roads. Crossing, Upper Makefield police said. After the mother’s body was recovered Sunday, the department confirmed to news week shortly after 6:40 p.m. that only the two children were still missing.
The identities of the victims and missing children are not being released at this time, police said.
“With these 5 deaths, this is a mass casualty incident the likes of which we have never seen before,” the Upper Makefield Township Police Department said. “This has been incredibly devastating for all of the families involved, all of our first responders and our community at large. We are all grieving the loss of life we have seen. However, our commitment to finding the two children still missing is unwavering. as we will do everything we can to get them home to their loved ones.”
Houghs Creek rose more than five feet Saturday, causing “violent and fast” water to flood the road, Upper Makefield Fire Chief Tim Brewer said during a news conference Sunday afternoon. The chief said the flash floods caught many travelers by surprise, forcing people to become trapped inside their vehicles.
Eleven vehicles were found in the water, including three that were washed away, Brewer said, adding that one of the vehicles was found more than 1.5 miles from where it entered the creek.
While sharing an update On Sunday’s deadly flooding on Facebook, the Upper Makefield Police Department included a video to “show the magnitude of the flash flooding.” In the clip, water rushes over part of Route 532 near Meadowview Drive, and the department says it wasn’t even the “worst section.”
“At this time, Route 532 between Meadowview and Wrightstown Road is closed, as is Taylorsville Road south of Route 532,” Upper Makefield police said. “We will try to keep you informed, but please be patient as we work to find these two beautiful children.”
The baby boy and girl, who are from Charleston, South Carolina, and in Pennsylvania to visit family and friends, were traveling to a barbecue with their father, mother, 4-year-old brother and grandmother when their vehicles got stuck in The flash flooding on State Route 532, the department said. The baby, toddler, mother, and grandmother were swept away by the floodwaters.
The father, brother and grandmother “miraculously” survived the flash flood, police said.
“Unbelievably, the grandmother survived and was treated at a local hospital,” the department said in the online statement. “However, the lovely mother of these two beautiful children was one of the people we found dead during yesterday’s search efforts. Therefore, it is her two children that we want to take home.”
The department said that “out of respect for their privacy,” the names of the children and their families will not be released at this time, but said the family is “overwhelmed” by the outpouring of support and kindness amid this crisis. tragedy.
“We can’t even begin to imagine what this family is going through, but they know we are here to help them through this process and bring their beautiful children home,” Upper Makefield police said.
Search efforts for the children will continue Sunday night, the department said.
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro pledged state support for Bucks County, saying in his official Twitter account: “Bucks County, we’ve got your back.”
“We will be here as long as it takes to make sure everyone recovers,” the governor said in a subsequent tweet.