Odessa Family Back Home After Being Trapped in Ruidoso Flooding

By Camaron Abundes  
NewsWest 9

ODESSA- A weekend getaway turned into a struggle to stay calm for one Odessa Mother and her family, who woke up Sunday morning to find themselves trapped on the wrong side of the Rio Ruidoso.

Kim Dennis says she makes the four hour trip to Ruidoso at least three times a year. On this trip, Kim and her husband Ricky and their three daughters rented a house in Ruidoso's Upper Canyon.

"It's really beautiful up there," Dennis said, but adds she wasn't prepared for the flooding caused by the remnants of Hurricane Dolly, "I went to the Wal-Mart there in Ruidoso on Saturday, I normally buy for the whole week when I go there, but this time I only bought for the day. Expect the unexpected, at least have a First Aid type kit and extra water."

Dennis says Saturday Night they never dreamed they'd wake up to the type of flooding the found.

"The river broke the sewer lines, the water lines, the gas lines," she said.

Dennis says relatives staying across the river were free to leave, but Dennis and her family were trapped with little food and little water.

"Everybody was getting together asking who has food, who has water, just trying to pull together," Dennis said, "We prayed that we got out safe, nobody got hurt."

The Dennis family says entire roadways and homes buckled under the force of the flooded river. Fire Crews brought food over around 8pm Sunday night, but couldn't get the family out until the following day.

"It was taking trees, huge pine trees and just using them like darts in a dart board, [darting] into the banks of the river and it sounded like a drums every time the river hit it," Dennis said.

Dennis says she watched one girl nearly get dragged by the surging waters, she says one man disappeared when he tried to cross a washed out bridge.

"He got swept away in the water and from what I understand they never found him," she said.

After more than 24 hours on Monday, Firefighters using an extension ladder helped the family cross the swelling river.

"They stretched it across and tied a rope so it couldn't slide back down," Dennis said, and added that her four year old daughter crossed first.

Dennis says she is grateful to the people and crews who helped her family.