What’s known about the victims of the Kentucky flood
Among those killed were four young siblings from a single family and a father of five who stopped to help others, but was swept away trying to get home
Since devastating floodwaters raged through eastern Kentucky last week, 37 bodies have been recovered, according to Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear. He said hundreds more are missing and predicted recovery crews would be locating dead people for weeks.
Hundreds have also been rescued, according to Bashear’s office. In a news release on July 30, he reported that “at least 1,432 Kentuckians have been rescued by first responders from Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia.” And rescue efforts have been ongoing.
As the Lexington Herald-Ledger reported of the victims so far, “16 were from Knott County, eight were from Breathitt County, seven were from Perry County, three were from Letcher County and two were from Clay County.”
Those killed in the flooding included four children from one family, a coal miner who had rescued others and was trying to make it home to his wife and five children and those swept away in homes or overcome when their vehicles were washed away by raging water.
Not all of those lost have yet been identified and it’s expected that the death toll will climb. But here’s what media reports have gathered so far about the victims of the flooding.
The Noble children — Maddison Noble, 8; Riley Jr. Noble, 5; Nevaeh Noble, 4; and Chance Noble, 2 — were found on Friday in Knott County. They were the children of Amber Smith and her husband, Riley Noble.
Smith and Noble rushed to dress the children about 2 a.m. as the water was rising and they climbed to the roof of their trailer, but realized it was apt to be swept away, according to news reports. So they tried to hang onto a nearby tree, but as the water raged, the children were swept away.
Relatives told The New York Times that Maddison loved school and Nevaeh liked dolls. They said Riley and Chance spent much of their time playing with each other. “Even when they found the bodies, theirs were the closest,” their uncle, Steve Smith, said. “I know they hung on to each other till the very end.”
Also among those killed:
Diana Amburgey, 65, worked at a local gas station. Her family told the New York Times she was excited about a planned Florida vacation that was to happen in a week.
Betty Beaver, 76, and her son, Bobby Beaver, 46, of Knott County. Bobby’s son told the Courier Journal that their bodies had been recovered.
David Campbell, 78, of Rowdy. He was found dead in his home.
Helen Campbell, 82, of Hardshell died at home.
Adam Combs, 75, and his wife Elizabeth Mae Combs, 71, of Fisty.
Gary Combs, 61, of Bowling’s Creek.
Tommy Lynn Cornett, 61, of Carrie.
Ruby Cundiff, 69, of Clayhole.
Betty Estep, 67, of Letcher County was fleeing with a family member to higher ground when she had a medical emergency, according to several news reports.
Rita Hall, 78, found at home in Hindman. She lived independently, but had epilepsy and used a walker, according to the Times. Her obituary listed an extensive family, including two children and both grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Gabriel Hensley, 30, of Perry County. According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Hensley had just finished a shift in the coal mine and was trying to get home to his wife and five children. Along the way, he and his brother-in-law had stopped to help others. But his truck was swept away by flood waters and his body was later recovered. The brother-in-law survived by clinging to a tree until help came.
Amy Henson, 40, of Lower River Caney Road.
Walter Hinkle, 76, Clay County, was “washed out of his house,” according to Clay County Deputy Coroner Joe Crockett. His obituary described him as a “graceful, humble, loving man” who loved photography and playing the guitar.
Nellie May Howard, 82, a grandmother who was sheltering with her daughter when water washed them out of the home. The daughter survived. Per The New York Times: “Among Ms. Howard’s journals, the family said, were lyrics to a song by the Gaither Vocal Band carefully written in her handwriting: “When my eyes are closed in death with my Jesus I’ll be at rest. Then you’ll know I’m satisfied.” Her obituary said she was a “devout Christian and loved her flowers, especially her rose bushes.”
Jeanette Johnson, 65, of Clayhole was one of at least seven people who died in the flood in Breathitt County, per the Louisville Courier Journal.
Gilla Ann Miller, 83, of Hardshell was found in her flooded home.
James Miller, 73. His wife Carol Miller, 72, is presumed drowned but her body has not been recovered. He could not move on his own due to severe back problems. His wife was attempting to get him out, but the vehicle was carried away by the raging water. His body was recovered, according to news reports.
Caster Clark Slone, 74, of Hindman.
Clarence Sturgill, 79, and his wife Jewel Sturgill, 65, of Letcher County.
Christine Roberts, 63, of Highland Road, had chest pains, but emergency crews couldn't reach her due to flooded roads, the Herald-Leader reported.
Rosie Vick, 55, of Pine Top, Kentucky. She was developmentally disabled. The New York Times said “Vick was known in her husband’s family for her lively sense of humor and her fierce appetite for work.” Water swept their house from the foundation and carried them away.
Brenda Webb, 81, Clay County, died when floodwater raged through her house.
This story will be updated.