Volunteers comb through areas near river

WIMBERLEY, Texas (KXAN) — The Austin Jeep People group typically gets together to go off-roading in jeeps and ATVs. They again went way off the beaten path with their vehicles on Friday, but this time it was to search flooded areas along the Blanco River bank in Wimberley.

“If you sit at home and read about it or watch the news, you can only sympathize,” said team leader Michelle Nations. “We had time to put our hands in and find whatever we can find.”

Their group is one of several volunteer search and rescue teams taking part in combing through the flooded areas in Hays County. While several people are still missing, Nations said they are told to be mindful of buzzards or odors, but they are not simply looking for bodies.

“I am grabbing photographs,” she said. While looking through downed trees and brush, she found several photos faded by the water but could possibly be restored.

“At times like this, sometimes the photos are the only things people can hold onto. They are important.”

The water rose so high in places, Michelle asked her team to keep an eye up at tree tops for any items which could of value and possibly lead to clues about where the missing may be found. Using color-coded tape, they marked off areas where they searched as a signal to other teams which may walk through the same area.

While volunteers aided in the search and rescue, professional search and rescue teams like Texas Task Force 1 and 2 move much more quickly and hoped to search as much as possible with the possibility of more rain in the forecast. Severe weather could force search operations to stall.

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