Divers pulled off search for woman swept away during flooding that killed 4 in Texas, Oklahoma

By Paul J. Weber, AP
Friday, September 10, 2010

Divers pulled off search for Texas flooding victim

SAN ANTONIO — Authorities in Austin scaled back the search for a missing motorist Friday, a day after a central Texas official said hope was fading that another person swept away by floodwaters from the remnants of Tropical Storm Hermine would be found alive.

At least four people — three in Texas and one in Oklahoma — died in flooding caused by the storm as it swept through the region this week.

Divers were no longer involved in the search for a woman who disappeared after her sport utility vehicle was washed down swollen Bull Creek, said Austin fire Lt. Josh Portie. He said a fire department boat was being used along with routine police boat patrols.

“It’s safe to call it a recovery operation,” Portie said.

The SUV was recovered Thursday, a day after a woman drove around a police barricade and into the fast-moving creek, Portie said. Austin police said they have a missing person report for 52-year-old Jennifer Ring of Austin, and the SUV belonged to her.

Authorities on Thursday recovered the body of Derek Joel-Nelson Clemens, 23, of Baldwin, Mich., from the Guadalupe River in New Braunfels. The search for his friend, 28-year-old Nikos Paraskevopoulos of Alexandria, La., resumed Friday, said New Braunfels fire Capt. Greg Wilson. Both were swept over a dam in the river Wednesday.

Bexar County officials were still looking Friday for 57-year-old Calvin Gibson, who was swept away near San Antonio when he tried to drive over a flooded creek, said Bexar County spokeswoman Laura Jesse.

Hermine caused relatively few problems when it made landfall as a tropical storm Monday night, and as the remnants moved north into Texas and Oklahoma, the flooding caught some people off guard. The sudden flooding on Wednesday led to more than 100 high-water rescues and inundated some northern Texas city neighborhoods.

Hermine was the third tropical system this year to hit the Rio Grande Valley, a flood-prone area that encompasses northeastern Mexico and southeastern Texas.

Associated Press writers Jeff Carlton in Arlington, Linda Stewart Ball in Seagoville, Jay Root in Belton and Ken Miller in Oklahoma City contributed to this report.

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