Exhausted Peninsula Residents Air Evacuated by National Guard

By: Ashlea Sigman Email
By: Ashlea Sigman Email

It was wiped off the map four days ago. Monday, water rescue crews surveyed what was left of the swampy Bolivar peninsula.

Residents in communities like Crystal Beach, Gilchrist and High Island were told to evacuate before Ike or face certain death. Ashlea Sigman was there the next morning as some of those weary residents were rescued by the national guard.

"I sure was glad to see that air national guard come in there," said Steve Brady, a Bastrop resident rescued from Crystal Beach.

It was the best sound Bolivar Peninsula residents had ever heard.

"They were busy just one after another. I kept holding my old Texas flag upside down and they kept seeing me," said Brady.

Black Hawk helicopters carried exhausted people with all they had left, to Texas City High School. The enormity of their brush with death was evident on the passengers' faces, and was too much for some to take.

"They came through last night and told us to mark ourselves in case we didn't make it through. They said put our social security numbers and our names," said Gilchrist resident Shaunna Heyde.

Like everyone rescued by air, the Heydes weren't sure they'd survive Ike. Officials told anyone who stayed on the Peninsula, they'd face certain death.

"We got out Thursday, stayed in High Island," said Heyde. "Friday morning Gilchrist flooded out and I'm part of the EMS and Fire Department in Gilchrist, and I started helping get the Gilchrist people on busses and stuff. By the time we got back to my truck we couldn't get out."

Now, home video is all the couple has left of their home.

"We live 150 feet off the beach and our house is gone," said William Heyde. "We gotta start all over."

It will be a daunting task, but one they'll take on together.


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