Man rescued from home in SE Travis County

Eric Gonzalez Mendez says this is an image of him being rescued by a STAR Flight helicopter (courtesy: STAR Flight)

AUSTIN (KXAN) – A man says a helicopter crew rescued him after flood water trapped him in southeast Travis County near Maha Creek.

Eric Gonzalez Mendez says he got a notification on Thursday night warning of possible flooding. He lives on Plover Place. He brought his two kids to safety, but returned to his home to gather belongings. Mendez says his children lost everything in the floods last October and FEMA denied his family assistance because of issues verifying home ownership.

But Mendez says when he went back, the water rose and trapped him along with his neighbors. While a helicopter rescued his neighbors from the rooftop, he fell in the water and was swept away.

“It was kind of scary,” said Mendez “The water dragged me, I don’t know how far.”

He says he swam, rested in a tree, and eventually made it back to his home to call for help once more. A helicopter arrived to lift him to safety.

“A guy came down with a line and we went up together, me and another guy,” said Mendez.

“They were dropping them down and lifting people up. I just stood there and watched and I prayed,” said a neighbor.

Mendez says he suffered some cuts, bruises and bug bites, but no major injuries.

He plans to get checked out at the hospital, but has yet to see the damage to his house. He says the water was about 10 inches deep in his house when he left.

Mendez says he drained his savings to repair his home from the last floods. He pulled out a stack of paperwork to prove his exchanges and appeals to FEMA to ask for assistance.

He says after the October flood, his kids had to sleep on air mattresses for weeks. He hopes this time is different.

In all, a STAR Flight spokesperson says STAR Flight crews rescued nine people. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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