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Woman, Grandson Miraculously Survive South Carolina Flooding By Clinging to Giant Red Cross: 'He Set My Feet on Higher Ground'

( [email protected] ) Oct 08, 2015 01:28 PM EDT
A South Carolina woman and her grandson have revealed they escaped dangerous floodwaters that devastated the region by clinging to a cross for five hours before rescue teams were able to reach them.
Clara Gantt and Travis Catchings WISTV

A South Carolina woman and her grandson have revealed they escaped dangerous floodwaters that devastated the region by clinging to a cross for five hours before rescue teams were able to reach them.

"Jesus is my savior," Clara Gantt told NBC. "This story is not about me, it's about what he did to save me. And he set my feet on higher ground."

The miraculous event occurred on Sunday when Gantt was traveling to her church in Irmo at around 6 a.m. However, the torrential rainfall blinded her, causing her to mistakenly drive directly into a sheet of water covering a road.

Historic flooding struck South Carolina this week, killing at least 17 people and destroying countless houses and business structures. 

"If you are in your house, stay in your house," South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley told state residents on Monday. "This is not something to be taking pictures of. All you have to do is look out the window and see the flooding. It doesn't take long for you to get in your car and realize you've got to turn back around."

"I knew there was water out there, but I didn't know that it was going to stall me and it did," Gantt explained. The waters swept Gantt's car from the road and into a field next to the small church. Although she tried repeatedly to call 911, she got no answer. Eventually, the grandmother was able to reach her family.

Her grandson, Travis Catchings, arrived with a harness and rope and found the strength to overcome the pressure of the rushing water to force open the car door.

"I don't see how I did it. It was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life," Catchings said.

While the two waited for help to arrive, they held onto a bright red cross on the church property that happened to be nearby.

"Where my car stopped was right behind a huge red cross. I was literally, after I got out of the car, holding on the cross. I was clinging to the cross literally," Gantt said.

More than four hours went by, but still no one came to their assistance. Catchings told the news outlet that he didn't know if he and his grandmother were going to survive and called his wife to say goodbye.

"I really thought that was the last time that I was ever going to talk to her. I thought that was the last time that I'd ever going to hear her voice," Catchings told the station.

"It was the hardest phone call I've ever made. And I just told her that I loved her, and I didn't know what was going to happen," he said. He was also able to document the rushing water as the pair waited for help.

Eventually, rescuers arrived and were able to save the pair. While Gantt suffered a broken ankle and hypothermia, she is steadily recovering. Her grandson was unharmed, Breitbart reports.

While some have said the location of the church and the cross are just coincidence, Gantt knows it was God's protective hand over her.