Chopper pilot saves people stranded on rooftops during flash flooding

10 CHOPPER PILOT SAVES PEOPLE PKG.transfer_frame_2037.jpeg
Posted at 10:24 PM, Aug 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-24 10:45:53-04

WAVERLY, Tenn. (WTVF) — In the devastation of the deadly flooding over the weekend, there were signs of hope, including one from above; a helicopter pilot who -- in a desperate situation -- 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 tornadoes and flooding and flood damage and everything else, it was the worst I'd ever seen, 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 I was at 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 reached out to say thank you, which was really sweet and nice to hear, but I turned around and thanked them because using your skill set to turn around and help people, 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.