All 30 people listed as missing in this border town after deadly flooding caused by Tropical Storm Charley have been found safe, authorities said Tuesday.
But the flooding, blamed for 14 deaths in Texas and Mexico, damaged hundreds of homes and may have simply washed away others.Mayor Robert Chavira said that authorities had accounted for everyone believed to have been missing following the flash flood that struck Monday. But state troopers and Border Patrol agents continued searching the worst-hit neighborhoods by foot and helicopter as a precaution.
Many streets remained closed, but some residents were allowed to check on their homes in Del Rio, which got nearly 18 inches of rain in 24 hours as the remnants of Charley swept in from the Gulf of Mexico.
About 400 homes were damaged and an unknown number were swept away by the rushing water, the mayor said Tuesday.
Six people in the town of 34,000 people were killed. Authorities said a seventh person included in earlier counts had died of a heart attack. Elsewhere in Texas, four people were killed when high water swept their pickup off a road in Real County, and a man died of a heart attack while being evacuated from a flooded state park in Uvalde County.
In addition to the Texas deaths, the Mexican government said three people were killed in Ciudad Acuna, across the border, and four were missing. Earlier, the Mexican news agency Notimex had reported nine deaths.
Some Del Rio residents said they got out just in time.
"It's just good we didn't end up like other people - drowning or swimming our way out," said Tracey Portillo, 21, who escaped with her young son and other relatives as San Felipe Creek invaded their home.
Local law officers, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Border Patrol helped rescue stranded residents, some of whom were on tops of houses or clinging to trees.
Gov. George W. Bush sent 150 National Guardsmen, 25 trucks and nine helicopters to join the rescue effort.
The water rose so fast that people barely had time to get out of their homes with some clothing, much carry belongings.
"It hit us hard, it hit us fast," said Portillo, who used a cigarette lighter to see as her family fled.
After the water receded, furniture and clothing clung to brush. Cars and pickup trucks rested hundreds of yards from their driveways. Uprooted trees lay in yards. Pools of water gleamed across the vast cactus-studded brush country surrounding the city.
Emergency shelters were quickly set up at schools and churches. By late Monday the civic center became the main gathering spot for displaced residents as the American Red Cross provided hundreds of people with food, water, clothes, blankets and cots.
Flooding also hit Eagle Pass, some 50 miles down the Rio Grande from Del Rio, on Monday night. The high water was expected to hit Laredo, another 125 miles downriver, by about Wednesday.