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Campers Rescued From High Water With AM-Floods-Future, Bjt

May 27, 1990

POTOSI, Mo. (AP) _ About 90 campers, some in trees, were rescued Saturday after heavy rains caused a creek of the Mineral Fork River to rise and flood several campgrounds, authorities said.

″You could see them hanging in the tops of the trees, waving flashlights and screaming for help,″ said Dennis Spradling, a firefighter for the Potosi Fire Protection District.

Dozens of people, including Washington County sheriff’s deputies, firefighters from about 15 area departments and volunteers, used boats to help rescue campers near this eastern Missouri town, Spradling said.

The water was over Highway 21, hampering rescuers’ efforts, he said.

The river already had been high, following persistent rains through most of May.

The call for help came in about 12:30 a.m., Spradling said. People were rescued from four campgrounds just south of Washington State Park, about 13 miles north of Potosi. They were taken to a nearby school.

There were no major injuries, Spradling said. Three boats sank in the rain and fast-moving water.

By mid-afternoon Saturday, the high water was receding and authorities were checking campers, other vehicles and camping equipment. There were no reports of missing people, Spradling said.

The area got about 2.5 inches of rain in the 24 hours ending at

John Feldt of the National Weather Service said the area got about 2.5 inches of rain in the 24 hours ending at 7 a.m. Saturday. He said the heaviest rain was in central Missouri, with Iberia getting about 6 inches in that period.