Chopper pilot saves people stranded on rooftops during flash flooding in Tennessee

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Posted at 9:17 AM, Aug 24, 2021

WAVERLY, Tenn. — In the devastation of the deadly flooding in Tennessee over the weekend, there were signs of hope, including one from above: a helicopter pilot who took risks to rescue several people stranded on their roofs.

In addition to the professional rescue crews, Joel Boyers with Helistar Aviation was also in the sky.

"It was the worst flooding I'd ever seen, and I've flown over a lot of tornadoes and flooding, flood damage, and everything else. It was the worst I'd ever seen. And it was just chaos on the ground," Boyers said.

"There were tons of power lines, houses are on fire," Boyers said.

He says he began what he had to do to start to rescue neighbors, one by one.

"I honestly feel like God gives people certain skills and some opportunities to be able to use them, so I was just thankful that I was in the right place at the right time," Boyers said.

He says he knows some of his maneuvering was risky, not something a newer pilot should try, but he relied on his years of experience.

"I used every bit of training I had ever gotten, look for situational awareness for power lines, lift, where the wind was coming from, everything," Boyers said.

He says he counted at least 12 people he was able to save from an uncertain fate.

"Some of them have reached out just to say, ‘Thank you,’ and that was really sweet, so it was nice to hear, but I ended up turning around and thanking them because, you know, using your skillset to be able to help people out is kind of everybody's dream," Boyers said.

A dream that for Boyers and several people stranded on their roofs this weekend thankfully came true.

This story was originally published by Jason Lamb at WTVF.