Five rescued from rapidly rising creek

Billy Pugh Products used is rescue mission.

When Capt. Kevin Caffery maneuvered his Erie County Sheriff’s Office helicopter into place Thursday morning above the quickly rising waters of Cattaraugus Creek, he knew that the people standing below him were in trouble.

“All of them were standing in water,” he said. “They probably would have been washed away in a very short period of time.”

With Caffery piloting Air One, Deputy Joel Schenfield lowered a hoist down to the men. One at a time, they got into the rescue basket and were flown to shore.

The dramatic rescue during a flash flood ended a wild night of powerful thunderstorms that also included fallen trees, lightning strikes and power failures.

The rescued men work for a contractor hired by the Thruway Authority to work on a support of the Cattaraugus Creek Bridge on the Cattaraugus Reservation.