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Night Vision Goggles Used to Rescue 100 People From Flooded Town

N.C. National Guardsmen and U.S. Coast Guardsmen flew into darkness to rescue about 100 people from Florence's floodwaters rising in their town because of a breached levee.

BLADEN COUNTY, N.C. -- Rescuers used helicopters, boats, and high-wheeled military vehicles to evacuate more than 100 people from a southeastern North Carolina county where high water caused by Hurricane Florence breached a levee and flooded a town.

The N.C. National Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard "flying with night vision goggles, heroically saved lives," Governor Roy Cooper said at a news conference Friday, describing what happened as the Cape Fear River flooded the town of Kelly in Bladen County.

Spokesperson for the N.C. National Guard, Matt Devivo, says pilots rescued a total of 102 people and 33 pets from Kelly.

Devivo says pilots hoisted up multiple people who were gathered at Centerville Baptist Church, waiting to be rescued.

The church posted about the rescues on its Facebook page and asked for prayers for the community.

The mandatory evacuation issued Thursday for Kelly, population about 800, was the third for the town, said Bradley Kinlaw, the county's director of emergency management.

Photos: Hurricane Florence Aftermath in North Carolina

In a phone interview Friday, Kinlaw estimated 100 people were evacuated Thursday night and that about 50 people remain in the town. He said fire department authorities and N.C. National Guardsmen were in the town Friday, trying to get people to leave.

The evacuations are part of the continuing effects of Hurricane Florence, which made landfall one week ago.

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